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Fertilizer Applicator Certification Needed Now
Sam Custer, OSU Extension Darke County

Agricultural fertilizer applicator certification is now required for farmers who apply fertilizer to more than 50 acres of agricultural production grown primarily for sale. This requirement was signed into law in June 2014, and also requires certification for commercial agricultural fertilizer applicators. Farmers who have their fertilizer applied by co-ops or custom applicators are not required to be certified.

Farmers and commercial applicators need to attend a training course offered by Ohio State University Extension to become certified. Those who have a pesticide applicator license need to attend a two-hour fertilizer certification. If an applicator does not have a pesticide license, they will be required to attend a three-hour fertilizer certification. Fertilizer applicators who received Fertilizer Applicator Certification Training in the fall of 2014, during 2015 or 2016 do not need to be trained again in 2017. Applicators who are a Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) or Certified Livestock Manager (CLM) are not required to attend the training.

Fertilizer is defined for the regulation as any substance containing nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, or other plant nutrient in a dry or liquid formulation. All application types such as broadcast, side dress, sub-surface, knifing and other are included in the certification requirement. Lime and limestone are not included as fertilizer for the certification and farmers who only use starter fertilizer in their planter boxes are exempted. The agriculture fertilizer certification is not required for manure applications as these are currently regulated, unless farmers are applying livestock or poultry manure from a Concentrated Animal Feeding Facility (CAFF).  In this case, they would need to have either the CLM or Ohio Fertilizer Certification.

A three-hour certification program for any applicator who does not have a pesticide license will be offered March 17, 9:00 a.m. at Romers in Greenville, Ohio. This event is part of the Darke County Chamber Ag Day, a sponsored lunch and luncheon speaker on weather extremes will be provided in addition to a vendor fair.  The event will conclude by 2:30 pm.

Please arrive by 8:30 a.m. so that materials can be distributed and the program can start on time. This free training will meet the certification requirements for those with and without a pesticide license.

Pre-registration is required by March 13. Online registration is available at You can also register by calling the Darke County Extension office at 937.548.5215.

Applicators who meet the criteria for the fertilizer certification must attend training by September 30, 2017. The Ohio Department of Agriculture is the agency issuing the certification for agriculture fertilizer applications. Once an applicator completes the fertilizer training, the ODA will bill them $30 for their fertilizer certificate unless the applicator currently holds a pesticide applicator license. Their website has information regarding the regulation at

For more information about other training sessions or general materials for the agriculture fertilizer certification, visit

For more information about OSU Extension, Darke County, visit the Darke County OSU Extension web site at, the OSU Extension Darke County Facebook page or contact Sam Custer, at 937.548.5215.

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