By Greg LaBarge, CPAg/CCA, Ohio State University Extension
Fertilizer applicator certification began in 2014. The agricultural fertilizer applicator certificate is required by the Ohio Department of Agriculture when you apply fertilizer to more than 50 acres of agricultural production. Agricultural production is defined as grain, forage, and other cash crops grown primarily for sale. Both horticultural and agronomic crops are included under this law. There is no distinction between commercial and private fertilizer applicators: both certify or recertify in an identical way.
Commercial nitrogen or phosphorus containing fertilizers and manures from certain livestock operations require a fertilizer applicators certificate. Manure applications from permitted Concentrated Animal Feeding Facilities (CAFF) require the certificate.
A certificate is not required if you use only starter fertilizer through the planter, or if a certified applicator makes the application for you.
If you have any questions about whether you are required to have a fertilizer applicator certificate, call the Ohio Department of Agriculture at 614-728-6987 for a determination or more information on fertilizer regulations at https://agri.ohio.gov/divisions/plant-health/fertilizers
A fertilizer applicator must demonstrate competency in fertilizer applications to obtain a certificate. An applicator can choose one of the following three options to prove their competency:
- Training: Attend a three-hour Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) approved training provided by OSU Extension and complete the forms at the end of the meeting.
- Testing: Pass the Agricultural Fertilizer Applicator Test at an ODA testing site.
- Training/Testing Exemption: Apply for the certificate without training or testing if you hold a “Certified Crop Adviser” or “Certified Livestock Manager” certification.
Local training events hosted by Ohio State University Extension through March 31 are found at https://nutrienteducation.osu.edu/trainingopportunities The meetings are posted by region, so you can find a meeting location and time that works for your schedule. Meetings require pre-registration.
A virtual training is scheduled for March 31, 2022, from 9-12:15. Information and registration on the webinar is at https://nutrienteducation.osu.edu/OnlineFertCert.
A Training Manual-Ohio Agricultural Fertilizer Applicator Certification ANR-842 is available as a study guide for those who prefer receiving certification through the testing option. The manual is available in print and electronic format for Ohio State University Extension Publication. A link to purchase the manual is https://nutrienteducation.osu.edu/2022FertilizerManual
Once you are ready to take the exam, you need to register with the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s exam website https://agri.ohio.gov/divisions/plant-health/pesticides/exam-registration Select a testing date and site from the listed options.