Fertilizer certification training deadline nears

Time is running out for farmers to attend fertilizer applicator certification training. The Agricultural Fertilizer Applicator Certification bill that was passed in May 2014 requires farmers applying commercial fertilizer to more than 50 acres to attend a course on fertilizer application. Certification is required by Sept. 30.

OSU Extension is currently holding numerous training sessions across all regions of the state. The training sessions focus on best management practices and the latest research to keep nutrients in the field and available to crops while reducing nutrients leaving the field. To date nearly 12,000 farmers have become certified through the program.

While applicators have until Sept. 30 to become certified, the majority of training sessions for certification are happening right now. The Ohio Department of Agriculture will strive to gain voluntary compliance, but applying commercial fertilizer after Sept. 30 without a certification could result in fines and/or being charged with a misdemeanor offense.

“Between the law and voluntary efforts, farmers have proven they’re willing to help address Ohio’s water quality challenges,” said Adam Sharp, executive vice president of Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. “Becoming certified by the deadline is a crucial part of meeting our responsibilities.”

For more information on certification training, and to register, visit nutrienteducation.osu.edu.

Help for nutrient management plans is still available
Four educators are available to help farmers in the Western Lake Erie Basin develop Nutrient Management Plans. Ohio State University Extension educators Tony Campbell, Linda Lauber, Jessie Schulze and Brittany Sieler are developing the plans at no cost to farmers in the 22-county WLEB. Ohio Farm Bureau helped provide funding for their hiring as part of its $2 million Water Quality Action Plan.

Having a nutrient management plan can help farmers improve water quality, potentially reduce costs and increase yields on their farms. The plans provide both fertility recommendations and an environmental site risk for fields that help identify resource concerns impacting nutrient and sediment loss.

To date 33 plans covering 17,877 acres in Allen, Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Lucas, Ottawa, Paulding, Putnam, Van Wert, Williams and Wood counties in Ohio and Lenawee County, Mich., have been completed.