New Year brings new regulations

by Lee Beers

I hope 2017 is treating you well so far and that you are sticking to your resolutions – if you made any.  The new year comes with a host of new regulations about which farmers, landscapers, livestock owners and landowners need to be aware.

The Veterinary Feed Directive was spearheaded by the Food and Drug Administration and went into effect Jan. 1. This directive is an effort to reduce the use of antibiotics in the livestock industry because overuse could promote microbial resistance to those antibiotics. For those of you with livestock, this means that as of Jan. 1, you can no longer pick up antibiotics at the local feed store or use any previously purchased antibiotics or medicated feed unless you have a prescription from a veterinarian. The second component of the VFD is the veterinarian-client patient relationship must exist before antibiotics can be prescribed. The VCPR is just as it sounds; you must have a relationship with your veterinarians so that they are familiar with your operation, farm and livestock before they are able to write any prescriptions in your name.  Visit or call 330.638.6783.

The final regulation that I want to mention is the Fertilizer Applicator Certification that will be required by Sept. 30 for any farmer/grower who applies fertilizer to a crop primarily for sale on 50 or more acres. Currently, to become certified you must attend a free, three-hour training session conducted by OSU Extension, but after the Sept. 30 deadline, it is likely that you will be required to take a test. OSU Extension in northeast Ohio is working hard to make sure everyone who needs to be certified is able to attend a session before the deadline. Two upcoming sessions include one Jan. 27 in Burton and one Feb. 8 in Cortland.  Both sessions are free but pre-registration is required at 440.834.4656.

In addition to the Fertilizer Applicator Training, there are a few other events that you should put on your calendar.  The Trumbull County Master Gardeners will be hosting Ellen Speicher Feb. 16 as she discusses Ohio’s native plants and how to incorporate them into your gardens and landscapes.  This is a great opportunity to learn about the benefits of native plants and how to choose the best plants for your garden.

Trumbull County Master Gardener volunteers are also now accepting applications for their training class.  if you have interest in gardening and volunteering and would like to be involved with helping gardeners throughout the county with your expertise, consider becoming a Master Gardener.  To become a MGV, you must complete 50 hours of advanced training and volunteer 50 hours your first year to any of our ongoing projects. The training class will begin March 7 and runs for eight weeks. Applications are available at or by emailing [email protected].  Applications must be received by Feb.1.

If you are thinking about obtaining your pesticide license, we have scheduled exams at the Trumbull County Ag Center. You can take exams for private or commercial applicators licenses.  To register, log onto

OSU Extension will also be offering two regional training sessions to help you prepare for the exams on Jan. 31 in Geauga County and on March 14 in Cortland at the Ag Center.  For information or to register, call 330.638.6783 or visit

Have a safe and happy holiday season from all of us at OSU Extension.

Lee Beers can be reached at [email protected] or 330.638.6738.