Fertilizer Certification is More than a Checkbox

Todd Hesterman-1Signed into law in late 2013, Senate Bill (SB) 150 created a mandatory fertilizer certification for farmers with 50 or more acres. Similar to the pesticide applicators’ license, this new certification was created to support science-based education on the responsible application of nutrients, as well as reinforce the 4Rs (right source, right rate, right time, right place).

To me, this certification means more than just checking a box to say it’s done. It’s a signal to the industry and all of Ohio that farmers are not just sitting idly by on water quality and nutrient management. We are investing our dollars in research and we are investing our time and attention to continuing education.

I’m not alone. On September 12, 2014 over 350 farmers attended the first ever Fertilizer Certification Training Course held by Ohio State University Extension. It was an excellent turn out and those numbers have continued upward. According to Ohio State University Extension, 6,000 farmers representing one million acres of farm land had gone through the training course by April of 2015. Many more have been certified this summer.

These numbers are encouraging, not because the certification is mandatory, but because it is well ahead of the deadline in 2017. Farmers are taking action. It may seem like a small thing, but sometimes the small actions we take can have a big impact.

I encourage every farmer in the Western Lake Erie Basin to get certified as soon as possible. If you already have your pesticide applicator’s license, you will need to attend one two-hour course. For those that do not, a three-hour course is required. A list of scheduled OSU Extension courses can be found at www.pested.osu.edu/NutrientEducation.

Finally, don’t forget to share why water quality and certification matters to you via #whywatermatters.

Todd Hesterman

Todd Hesterman
Henry County
Ohio Grain Farmer

 

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