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The information presented on this page was originally released on March 3, 1997. It may not be outdated, but please search our site for more current information. If you plan to quote or reference this information in a publication, please check with the Extension specialist or author before proceeding.
Pesticide Training Draws Record Numbers
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A record-breaking number of people were trained around the state Feb. 18 as private pesticide applicators of restricted use pesticides.
Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Lester Spell suspended certification of private applicators Dec. 4, following criminal abuses of methyl parathion. The Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Bureau of Plant Industries resumed training and certification in February. After Extension's training, the BPI tested applicants and certified those who passed as private pesticide applicators.
"We had an excellent turnout at the training sessions," said Ruth Morgan, Mississippi State University pesticide coordinator and pesticide impact assessment specialist. "Extension has never before trained that many people in one day's time."
A BPI inspector at each site tested applicants, and about 10 percent of those taking the test failed. Those who passed were certified as private pesticide applicators.
This BPI testing is new in the certification process and must be passed before private applicators are certified.
"Since 1976, the Department of Agriculture and Commerce's Bureau of Plant Industries and the Cooperative Extension Service have cooperated on this program, with extension conducting the training and the BPI issuing the certification and in charge of administration," Morgan said.
The pesticide training is designed to help farmers protect themselves and others while at the same time protecting the environment, Morgan said.
In 1996, the BPI certified an average of 253 people a month as private applicators, for a year's total of 3,040. In a typical three-month span in 1996, extension certified about 760 people, yet the most recent session which eased the three-month backlog trained more than 1,200 applicators.
At the end of 1996, Mississippi had 21,119 certified private applicators, and 42,000 farmers, according to the Mississippi Agriculture Statistical Service.
Extension has scheduled 49 more training sessions in March at 48 locations. Contact a county extension agent for the dates and locations of future sessions.