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franklin county times

Coming up: Pesticide applicator meeting

By By Steve Strong / area horticulture agent
Aug. 7, 2002
Producers with livestock, timberland and commercial vegetable farms must be certified in the state of Mississippi to purchase and apply restricted-use pesticides.
A private pesticide applicator workshop and certification is scheduled for Aug. 12, at 6:30 p.m., at the Lauderdale County Extension Auditorium.
Restricted-use pesticides are those that may seriously harm people or the environment if used improperly. They are different from the over-the-counter pesticides available at garden centers, which require no special permit.
Average homeowners can buy pest control products without private applicator certification and do not need to attend this workshop. The workshop is for people who want to use high-strength herbicide to control pasture weeds and forestland kudzu.
The workshop is free and takes about an hour. There is a short multiple-choice exam; its goal is to make sure farmers applying restricted-use pesticides can read labels correctly.
A private applicator permit is good for five years, then the holder must re-certify. Producers may use a permit only to buy and apply pesticides on their land. It is illegal to use the permit in the business of spraying for anyone else.
People who use pesticides in their businesses must earn a commercial pesticide applicator certification, and that goes for everything from fence row spraying to home bug control. The Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce, Bureau of Plant Industry at Mississippi State University, oversees the certification of commercial applicators. Commercial permits are good for three years. For more information, call (662) 325-3390.
MDAC workers also make sure both private and commercial applicators keep records of the pesticides they spray or spread. It is state law in Mississippi to keep accurate records of any restricted-use pesticide applied in agricultural operations; failure to comply can result in stiff fines or even jail time.
On a happier note, doesn't it feel good to know that when you shop for fresh produce at the Meridian Area Farmers Market, the farmers you count on are using pesticides safely and wisely? It's just another one of the many successful partnerships among the MSU Extension Service, local farmers and the community they serve.
Don't forget, the Farmers Market is still going strong up to six days a week, Monday through Saturday, downtown under the 18th Avenue Bridge next to Union Station. The peas and okra are coming in pretty steady, and the home canners out there better be hoofing it to get that last batch of homegrown tomatoes, pears and peaches.
Peanuts are beginning to ripen, and white field corn cannot be beat this time of year. Give the farmers a call at 484-3988 to see what's in stock, and visit early to get the best selection.
The workshop is free and takes about an hour. There is a short multiple-choice exam. To pre-register, call the Mississippi State University Extension Office at 482-9764.