Private pesticide applicators with expiring certification and those seeking first-time certification can contact a local University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension office for information on certification training sessions in January, February and early March.

Certification as a private applicator allows farmers to purchase and use restricted use pesticides in their farming operations.

Private applicators required to recertify in 2002 should have received mail notification from the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) in early December, said Larry Schulze, pesticide coordinator for NU's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Letters were sent to more than 15,000 applicators with expiring certifications statewide.

"The letter contains a bar code that eliminates the need to complete the standard NDA application form for those wanting to recertify," Schulze said. Those applying for first-time certification must complete the form.

"All who are eligible for recertification should also have been notified by their local Cooperative Extension office of recertification training sessions in their area," said Schulze.

Extension provides the educational program, while the state ag department is responsible for certification. The Extension training costs $10 per person.

This year's training program includes information on spray booms, drift reduction nozzles, herbicide mixing, sprayer cleanup, time of day for best Roundup applications, protective pesticide clothing and equipment, gray leaf spot and an update on pesticide laws and regulations. Pesticide storage security will be a special emphasis, Schulze said.

For a list of training sites and dates, contact an Extension office or go to the NU Pesticide Education Resources Web site at Applicators will find training sites listed by county on the Web.

After completing private applicator training at an Extension office, certification applications will be sent to NDA, which will bill the applicator for the $25 fee, Schulze said.

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