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Serving: IN

New Fertilizer Applicator Rule Takes Effect New Year's Day

New Fertilizer Applicator Rule Takes Effect New Year's Day
It's up to you to know if the rule applies, and become certified if it does.

There has been a pesticide applicator law in effect in the state for decades. Originally, either private or commercial applicators take a test, then they keep up their license by attending meetings on related subjects and earning a set number of points over a specified period. As of January 1, 2012, there will now be a certified fertilizer applicator 's license in Indiana. It is patterned after the pesticide applicator's program it how it's designed to work.

Matthew Pearson, the person with the Office of the Indiana State Chemist who helps administer the program, says it's important to know whether you are affected, and if so, what you need to do to comply. The official rule is called the Agricultural Fertilizer Applicator Certification Rule.

Any person applying, handling or transferring fertilizer material for hire to produce an ag crop qualifies. Fertilizer material is defined as both commercial fertilizer and manure form a confined feeding operation. Note that the words 'for hire' means you're not affected if you're applying on your own property.

If you fall under the category needing a license, Pearson says, you must be certified and licensed by the Office of the Indiana State Chemist in what's called Category 14, OR be trained and supervised by an applicator already certified in Category 14 and working for a licensed Category 14 fertilizer business.

If you apply manure from a confined animal feeding operation (CFO) in excess of 10 cubic yards or 4,000 gallons per year to your own property, you must be certified as a private fertilizer applicator. So if you purchase manure from a neighbor and apply it, you still need a license.

Once you have a license, you can supervise up to 10 employees that you have trained, and that are working within the business or farming operation. That's why some larger fertilizer dealerships this past fall sent some key people for training. In one case, for example, the manager didn't go but he sent key people instead.

Anyone who only distributes fertilizer as defined here must obtain a fertilizer distributor's business license, Pearson notes.

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