Pesticide handling rules toughened

Hopefully, some of you reading this may recall a previous article I wrote briefing you on recent Environmental Protection Agency revisions to Worker Protection Standards for farms, nurseries, and greenhouse operations regarding respirators. This may come as a surprise to some, but EPA has made some new revisions, this time in regards to pesticide labeling for the newly registered dicamba (Engenia, FeXapan, and XtendiMax) and 2,4-D (Enlist Duo and Enlist One) products labeled for in-season, over-the-top application of Xtend or Enlist cotton and soybeans. These products are now registered as Restricted-Use Pesticides — meaning only certified applicators can purchase them and only certified applicators, or individuals working under the direct supervision of a certified applicator, can legally apply them.

I mention this because last year, which was the first year these products were available for use, these new formulations were considered general-use pesticides, much like the older formulations of dicamba and 2,4-D you can purchase at the local garden center. The original product registrations were set to expire towards the end of 2018. However, in an effort to reduce damage to sensitive crops from off-site movement of these products, the EPA revised the label to mandate use by properly trained applicators in the second half of the dicamba/2,4-D tolerant crop game. To ensure that applicators are properly trained, language on the pesticide label states that all applicators must attend Auxin Herbicide — Best Management Practices training. This training was required prior to use last year, and North Carolina Cooperative Extension has been tasked with the responsibility of offering this statewide training again this year.

However, there are a few things that will be different that folks will want to note. First, unlike last year when only one representative from each farm was required to attend the training, every applicator will be required to attend in 2018. Yes, this means any employee who is operating a sprayer has to attend. Second, it is my understanding that a representative with N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Pesticide Division, will be on site at the training to issue proof of attendance cards, which will need to be provided to a registered dealer at the time of purchase. Remember, attendance of the Auxin Herbicide — Best Management Practices training was only required for use last year. Third, as a restricted-use pesticide, these mentioned products will require extensive record-keeping. Ironically, the record-keeping issue sort of ties into a previous EPA revision I mentioned on proper respirator use a while back. Why, you might ask? If one carefully reads the Engenia herbicide label, a NIOSH approved dust/mist respirator is required for all mixers, loaders, applicators, and handlers. So go ahead and get started on your medical clearance, fit testing, and training.

A listing of 30 regional Auxin Herbicide — Best Management Practices trainings across the state has been released. A convenient regional training will occur on March 7 at the Southeastern N.C. Agricultural Events Center, 1027 U.S. 74 East, Lumberton, beginning at 2 p.m., followed by a Private Applicator V Recertification training at 4 p.m. You can access a copy of all training opportunities by visiting https://robeson.ces.ncsu.edu/ or contacting our office at 910-671-3276.

Recommendations for the use of agricultural chemicals are included in this article as a convenience to the reader. The use of brand names and any mention or listing of commercial products or services in this publication does not imply endorsement by N.C. Cooperative Extension nor discrimination against similar products or services not mentioned. Individuals who use agricultural chemicals are responsible for ensuring that the intended use complies with current regulations and conforms to the product label. Be sure to obtain current information about usage regulations and examine a current product label before applying any chemical. For assistance, contact your Cooperative Extension agent.

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Mac Malloy, Extension field crops agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center, can be reached at 910-671-3276, by email at Mac_Malloy@ncsu.edu, or visit our website at http://robeson.ces.ncsu.edu/.

Mac Malloy, Extension field crops agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center, can be reached at 910-671-3276, by email at Mac_Malloy@ncsu.edu, or visit our website at http://robeson.ces.ncsu.edu/.