Everyone who buys restricted pesticides must have a pesticide applicator's license issued by the Office of Indiana State Chemist. Fred Whitford, director of Purdue University Pesticide Programs, reminds farmers that they must attend meetings to keep their license current.
"The reason for this reminder is that we have numerous people who wind up having to retest because they forgot to attend meetings so they could renew without testing," he says.
The Pesticide application recertification program dates back to the 1970s. Once you've passed the test, you must renew the license every five years. As long as you attend three certified meetings during that 5-year period, you can renew without retesting. The Office of State Chemist determines what meetings qualify. The idea is to keep applicators returning for updates on what's happening that's most current on safety and application techniques.
"The catch is that you can't take all three of the training programs in one year," Whitford says. "So if you forget about it and find it's up for renewal this year and you haven't attended any meetings, you're going to have to take the test," he says.
His advice is to attend at least one program the very first year after renewal. "Then you have flexibility on when you attend the other two meetings and you're less likely to find yourself in a situation where you have to drive to the other end of the state to get a meeting in before your license expires."
Many county Extension educators offer training programs that have PARP credit. If you're attending a meeting for credit, be sure to sign the proper form so you get credit. Many of these meetings are held early in the year, but some counties will still offer programs that count yet this year.
The Purdue Ag Center field days, mostly held in August later this year, also typically count toward credit, Whitford says.