by Amy Beth Graves
Ohio State University Extension has added more fertilizer certification classes for farmers. Under Senate Bill 150, anyone who applies fertilizer on more than 50 acres must be certified by 2017. Ohio Farm Bureau has set an aggressive goal of having all farmers in the Western Lake Erie Basin certified by Earth Day 2015. That April 22 date is more than two years before the state required deadline.
Extension is now offering the fertilizer certification classes in conjunction with pesticide recertification classes. The combined pesticide/fertilizer certification classes start in January.
For those who don’t have or need a pesticide applicator license and only need to take the fertilizer certification class, Extension has set up a website that shows where those fertilizer certification classes will be held regionally. Right now, classes are scheduled for November, February and March.
Extension held the first three classes in September, just a month after Senate Bill 150 went into effect. Those classes had 777 participants, of which 83 percent said they were farmers, according to Greg LaBarge, Extension field specialist. Those participants reported farming a total of 522,250 acres.
Ohio Farm Bureau’s early fertilizer certification goal is part of its $1 million comprehensive water quality action plan that aims to improve the state’s waterways. OFBF also plans to help farmers in the Western Lake Erie Basin create nutrient management plans, which details responsible fertilizer use, by Earth Day 2016.
Amy Beth Graves is a communications specialist for Ohio Farm Bureau.