Pesticide Applicator Certification
National Pesticide Safety Education Month – February, 2018
The purpose of National Pesticide Safety Education Month is to reinforce core principles of safe pesticide use with many audiences and raise awareness of and support for the land-grant university Pesticide Safety Education Programs (PSEPs).
Pesticide applicator certification is a legal requirement for persons using restricted-use pesticides in any situation, as well as for those individuals who apply general-use products in a commercial situation and are required to be licensed by both state and federal regulations.
In 2016, Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Pesticide Safety Education Program conducted 248 meetings, providing 4,175 hours of specific training to pesticide applicators. More than 2,365 pesticide applicators (2,003 private applicators and 362 commercial applicators) were trained in the safe and proper use of pesticides. The Pesticide Safety Education Program does not advocate the use of pesticides over other means of pest management, rather, it focuses on the safe and proper use of pesticides by individuals who have already determined that pesticides are necessary in a given situation.
The Mississippi State University Extension Service conducts courses of training for private pesticide applicators wishing to obtain certification. A private applicator is defined as an individual who is at least 18 years of age and who is producing an agricultural commodity on his/her land or on rented land. The county extension agent has the leadership role in providing training for private pesticide applicators and assures the completion of the application process for the certification of private applicators. The training and certification sessions are conducted within the counties of the state. The sessions are scheduled by the county extension agents and are conducted according to the policies handed down by the Bureau of Plant Industry and the Mississippi State University Extension Service. Individuals seeking Private Applicator Certification should check with their local county office for dates of scheduled sessions.
A commercial applicator is defined as anyone who does not meet the description of a private applicator and who wishes to apply a restricted-use pesticide. The Mississippi State University Extension Service publishes self-study materials (see Study Materials Order Form) for those individuals who are seeking first time commercial certification. To prepare for taking the commercial certification exam, applicants should purchase the general standards core manual along with the particular category manual(s) pertaining to the type of pesticide application they will be doing. The commercial applicator program has 14 categories for which an applicant can seek certification. The applicant should study the manuals and plan to take the exams at either the office of the Bureau of Plant Industry (on any week day so long as the applicant notifies the Bureau 24 hours in advance at 662-325-3390) or at any of the six locations within the state where recertification sessions are conducted throughout the year (see Commercial Applicator Recertification Schedules for dates, times, and locations). First-time testing is offered at the same location(s) and at the same time(s) as the recertification sessions in a separate room. The Bureau of Plant Industry, which is the regulatory agency in the State of Mississippi, conducts and administers all certification exams.
Please note: The recertification sessions are not a review for those individuals seeking first-time certification. The recertification sessions are only for those individuals who are already certified and must participate in continuing education training every three years in order to be recertified.
Certified Commercial Pesticide Applicators can preregister for recertification sessions by filling out the online registration form and paying the $75.00 registration fee by credit card or by mailing a check (see Commercial Pesticide Applicator Recertification Registration Form), which guarantees a seat in the session and reserves a recertification manual. We cannot guarantee those who register at the door a recertification manual to use during the session.
For additional information, including Study Materials Order Form questions and Registration Form questions, please contact:
M. Eugene Merkl, Jr.
Program Manager, Pesticide Safety Education Program
Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology
Mississippi State University
Mississippi State, MS 39762-9775
The Bureau of Plant Industry administers all aspects of the licensing process in the state of Mississippi. A Licensee is defined as anyone who applies a pesticide, either restricted use or general use, and advertises or collects a fee for the application. If you wish to become licensed in Mississippi, you must submit an application form to the Bureau of Plant Industry, P.O. Box 5207, Mississippi State, MS 39762. The form can be obtained from the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce web site at:
Follow all instructions, print the form, and submit it to the Bureau of Plant Industry. Incomplete applications will be denied. Applicants will be notified by letter indicating whether their application has been approved or denied.
If approved, applicants will receive information on the location and time for the exam(s). A reference sheet will be included listing reference material that may be helpful in preparing for the exam(s). The Bureau of Plant Industry does not provide copies of the reference material. Please note that exams are given the second Tuesday of January, April, July and October at Mississippi State University’s Main Campus in Starkville. The testing location will be stated in the approval letter. The starting time for the exam(s) is 9:00 a.m. All exams must be completed by 4:00 p.m.
For more information on licensing, please contact the Bureau of Plant Industry at 662-325-3390.
YAZOO CITY, Miss. -- Mississippi farmers can safely remove leftover pesticides from their property during a free disposal event on Dec. 16 in Yazoo City.
Insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and other pesticide products can be dropped off at the former Tal Port building located at 2003 Gordon Avenue between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.
No household waste, tires, rinsates, empty containers or products in bulk containers will be accepted.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- How to feed the world’s growing population is a continuing challenge for agricultural researchers and producers, and one expert who spoke Thursday at Mississippi State University said pesticides are essential for meeting that challenge.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Producers accumulate a variety of unused materials on the farm over time, and some of them require special handling for disposal.
A pesticide disposal program has been making clean-up on the farm easier since 1994 by providing a way to get rid of waste pesticides and potentially hazardous materials.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The Mississippi State University Extension Service will hold a waste pesticide collection day July 31 in Tunica County for farmers and pesticide applicators in northwest Mississippi.
The event will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Tunica Gin on Highway 61, one mile south of Tunica. There is no fee to participate.
Waste pesticides are leftover, cancelled, suspended or unusable products. Examples include insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and plant growth regulators. Empty pesticide containers will not be accepted.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Environmentally conscious producers in Panola County got more than 13 tons of waste pesticide off their farms during a one-day collection in March.
The Mississippi State University Extension Service partnered with the state Department of Agriculture and Commerce to offer the Agricultural Pesticide Disposal Program to area producers March 22 in Batesville. A grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality covered the cost of disposal.
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