EPA is currently accepting comments on proposed changes to the federal EPA Certification of Pesticide Applicators Rule. These changes are intended to ensure consistency among states for inter-state recognition of licensing and to increase safety for the nation’s more than one million certified applicators.

State agencies issue licenses to pesticide applicators who demonstrate under an EPA-approved program their ability to use these products safely. Many states already have some or many of EPA’s proposed changes already in place.

Under the proposed federal changes, first-time private applicators would need to be tested and the minimum age for certification would be 18, compared to Nebraska’s current age of 16. Every three years private applicators would need to be recertified with five hours of training. More training is needed if applicators wish to become certified in another category.

EPA also is proposing a Continuing Education Credit (CEU) Training Program. CEUs are defined as 50 minutes of active training time. This would mean both private and commercial applicators receive six CEUs covering core content (general standards such as application techniques), three CEUs for each private category (new categories proposed include aerial, soil fumigation, and non-soil fumigation), and six CEUs for each commercial category. Currently applicators in Nebraska aren’t required to train for a specific time, although each of several competencies must be addressed during recertification training.

In Nebraska more than 22,250 private and 9,250 commercial applicators are certified for restricted use pesticides.