Answers to common questions about SB 150 fertilizer application certification

Questions and answers about Senate Bill 150 and Ohio fertilizer application certification with the Ohio Department of Agriculture

 

Who has to be certified? Do all my employees have to be certified?

ODA: Anybody who applies commercial fertilizer to 50 or more acres must be certified. The law also allows for an uncertified person to apply fertilizer if they are under the direct supervision of a person who is certified.

 

How will the certification process work?

ODA: There are three steps in the certification process. You must: fill out an application form, pay an application fee, and attend a training session. A person that already has a valid commercial or private pesticide applicator license must apply for the certification but will not be required to pay the application fee. The fertilizer training session will also be included in the pesticide license training beginning in early 2015.

 

Where can I get trained? When do I need to be certified?

ODA: Training will be offered throughout the state on a both a county and regional basis. Persons intending to apply fertilizer on 50 or more acres are encouraged to become certified as soon as possible, no later than Sept. 30, 2017.

 

How often do I have to renew my certification?

ODA: All certifications will be valid for three years, at which point the applicator will need to be recertified. The recertification procedure will be the same as the initial certification procedure.

 

If I hire someone else to apply my fertilizer do I still have to be certified?

ODA: No, however the person hired to apply fertilizer must be certified or under the direct supervision of someone who is certified.

 

Can I buy fertilizer without a certification?

ODA: Yes. The certification is only required if you are intending to apply fertilizer.

 

What happens if I don’t get certified?

ODA: Applying commercial fertilizer after Sept. 30, 2017 without a certification could result in fines and/or being charged with a misdemeanor offense.

 

How much will it cost?

ODA: The initial application fee for fertilizer certification will be the same as the pesticide license fee of $30. A person that already has a valid commercial or private applicator license will not be required to pay the application fee.

 

Do I have to keep records of my fertilizer usage?

ODA: Yes, the bill requires certified applicators to maintain records including, but not limited to the date, place and rate of application of fertilizer, the type of fertilizer, and the name of the person applying the fertilizer. Records must be maintained for three years after.

 

Is my fertilizer usage a public record now?

ODA: Generally no, the records must be kept by the certification holder so they can be audited, but are not considered public records because they will not be submitted to the state. However, ODA can take possession of records if conducting an investigation for enforcement action. Those records would then be considered public.

 

Will I be inspected?

ODA: The department will conduct random record audits.

 

Does this certification offer me any legal protections?

ODA: The bill does offer some legal protection against civil suits, certification being one of three components. Additionally, the certified applicator must maintain records and must have an approved nutrient management plan.

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