Thursday, September 22, 2011

Restricted Use - new rules

After I wrote my blog yesterday about the mouse invasion (two dead this morning under the sink) one of my readers decided to follow a suggestion I made last year about getting rodenticides from the county ag.  Buying your product from County Ag is about 1/4 the price of getting it at the store, if you can find the product at the store.  He sent me a comment, which he asked not to publish, that said he couldn't just walk in and buy the items like I said could be done. 

I had to follow up on this.  I contacted the County Ag and found out that since January 1 of this year all bait sales of chlorophancinone and diphacinone became "restricted use pesticides."  You must be a certified applicator to purchase these items.  No longer can you just walk into the County Ag office or your local Orchard Supply or Lowe's and purchase these types of bait.  They've taken "home use" applications off the label.  But this stuff is great if you need to resort to rodenticides. 

Never fear, there is an easy fix to this.  You just become certified and then you can use the restricted use pesticides.  I always thought it was a long drawn out process.  A lot of people I work with are PCAs (agriculture pest control advisor).  They have to sit through lots of classes and take what they've said was a difficult exam in order to have this license.  I don't want to do that.  So what can be done? 

The person I spoke with at the County Ag office was extremely helpful.  He gave me some background on the changes to the regulations.  These changes were first proposed about ten years ago but the EPA couldn't get it through during the Bush years.  Once Obama came into office the new regulations came into play. 

The Ag officer said the best certificate to get was the Certified Private Applicators certificate.  This certificate is for growers, nurserymen, and others using restricted pesticides to produce agricultural commodities.  He said owners or renters of country property fit under the "others" and that producing agricultural commodities does not mean selling.  It can mean that you have a garden or an orchard. 

That being the case, all I would need to do is go down to the County Ag office and take the exam.  Wait!  An exam?  Yes.  What about studying for the thing?  Well, there's a trick to the process.  The exam is free.  How about if you take the exam and if you don't pass (70%) then you can spend eight dollars on a study guide?  Or use the free study guide on the internet.  But if you try to take the exam and you don't pass you'll know what to study.  You have to wait seven days to retake the exam.  Each retake is also free.  If you pass then you get your certificate and you can instantly buy restricted pesticides.  There is no cost for the certificate (although I'm sure someone will realize they can make money off this and will eventually charge fees).

Once you get your certificate you have to renew it every two years.  You also have to take six units of continuing ed.  These can be free classes off the internet.  I think it's stupid that you have to take classes to continue with the certificate but you don't have to take any classes or even study to get your initial certificate.  If you don't take your continuing ed classes then just let the certificate expire and retake the exam. 

Of course there will be people who will not want to be certified because they don't want their name on a list.  If that is the case then find a friend who is certified and if they will take responsibility for you using the stuff then by all means use someone else's certificate. 

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