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Alabama Pesticide Safety Education Program - 2011

Investigators
Graham, Lawrence
Institutions
Auburn University
Start date
2011
End date
2012
Objective
Our PSEP activities go beyond the training and support of certified restricted use applicators. Though there might be less risk associated with general or unclassified use products, there is an inherent risk with all pesticide use. The pesticide label seeks to mitigate risks, but training is also a key component to risk mitigation and minimization in all avenues. The initial efforts of this program focused on those applying RUPs, but we make no clear distinction in the training needs of all potential users.

The goal of the program is to certify that pesticide applicators reach a minimum level of competency to properly, safely and effectively use all pesticides. Our program is designed to maintain and improve the quality of pesticide training and certification in Alabama. Environmental protection, clean water, safe food and human health are emphasized.

Our program also works to enhance the economy of producers and communities through IPM. These outcomes can only be accomplished with educational programs that focus on safety for pesticide applicators, their coworkers and the general public, as well as proper use of pesticides to effectively control pests.

We work closely with the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries to identify needs and activities for pesticide training each year. Each year we identify applicator categories with educational materials that need revision or that need to be created. When these materials are coomplete, we work with the SLA to upgrade exam questions to fit the new material.

In the past, private pesticide applicators in Alabama have been able to take study materials home and complete a take-home test. We are working with the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries to change this process and require applicators to take a computer exam after completing an on-line training session or to attend a two to three hour educational program conducted by Regional Extension agents or County Agent Coordinators.

We are also collaborating to develop a certified technician category for applicators working under Certified Commercial Applicators in the Household Pest Control and Wood Destroying Organisms categories. We feel this has been a weakness in our program and are working with our state pest management association to get this regulation changed and to develop the infrastructure to train the numbers of technicians we anticipate if the regulation is approved. In Alabama there were approximately 6200 private pesticide applicators certified and approximately 4000 commercial pesticide applicators certified in 2010.

The goal of our program is to expand applicator knowledge on proper use of pesticides and to provide opportunities for new applicators to be certified.

More information
Non-Technical Summary:
Pesticide Safety Education Programs are designed to fulfill the objective of protecting human health and the environment by providing pesticide applicators or applicator candidates with the information necessary to safely and properly apply restricted use pesticides. Our PSEP activities go beyond the training and support of certified restricted use applicators. Though there might be less risk associated with general or unclassified use products, there is an inherent risk with all pesticide use. The pesticide label seeks to mitigate risks, but training is also a key component to risk mitigation and minimization in all avenues. The initial efforts of this program focused on those applying RUPs, but we make no clear distinction in the training needs of all potential users. The goal of the program is to certify that pesticide applicators reach a minimum level of competency to properly, safely and effectively use all pesticides. Our program is designed to maintain and improve the quality of pesticide training and certification in Alabama. Environmental protection, clean water, safe food and human health are emphasized. Our program also works to enhance the economy of producers and communities through IPM. These outcomes can only be accomplished with educational programs that focus on safety for pesticide applicators, their coworkers and the general public, as well as proper use of pesticides to effectively control pests. We cooperate with our State Lead Agency to identify the needs and activities of our pesticide applicators to provide educational opportunities that are relevant and current.

Approach:
Our first goal this next year will be to develop and improve private pesticide applicator educational materials and to provide more educational programs for private applicators throughout the state of Alabama. To accomplish this objective we plan to: 1.Work with our SLA to change the regulations for private applicator certification (process usually takes 6 months). 2.Develop a computer training course with tests at the end of each chapter and a final exam for private applicators. 3.Develop and deliver and in-service training for Extension agents on private applicator certification and provide materials so that they may conduct educational programs around the state for the applicators in their region or county. Next, we plan to continue to deliver educational programs on pesticide safety for our stakeholders in the state, including the following: 1.Pesticide Dealer Meeting, a three day traveling road show through Alabama where pesticide dealers and commercial pesticide applicators are trained on correct and safe use of pesticides. 2.The Alabama Turfgrass Association Road Show, consisting of 5 meetings across the state and the Annual Meeting. 3.The Alabama Vector Management Society Meeting. 4.OTPS exam prep for the Alabama Turfgrass Association at the Annual Meeting. 5.ROW exam prep for the Alabama Vegetation Management Association at the Annual Meeting. 6.Other stakeholder meetings are added by request each year as meetings are planned by groups such as the Treasure Forest Group, etc. New recertification training meetings are in development this year on a for-pay basis to offset the decrease in PSEP funding. We are working with our SLA and stakeholder groups to identify needs and prevent competition with their scheduled annual meetings for recertification. A new manual on Ag Commodity Fumigation is being written and two manuals are updated each year. The Alabama Extension website is being upgraded with new information. Work will continue on this upgrade. Common activities include presenting educational programs in a classroom setting or hands-on environment, developing and updating manuals and other training materials, developing and coordinating recertification education programs, and informing pesticide applicators of programs and materials through newsletters and web sites. Evaluation methods will include: Number of applicators certified Number of applicators recertified Increase in number of applicators passing exams

Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Food and Agriculture
Project source
View this project
Project number
ALAN-GRAHAM
Accession number
226782
Categories
Education and Training
Risk Assessment, Management, and Communication
Pesticide Residues