BOZEMAN – Experts on pesticides, insects and Montana plant diseases will present three-hour workshops on March 10 through 12 to help southwest Montanans renew their private pesticide applicator licenses before the end of the year.
Individuals who wish to purchase, use or supervise the use of restricted use pesticides on land they own, rent or lease need a private applicator license. Private applicators in Beaverhead, Broadwater, Deer Lodge, Gallatin, Granite, Jefferson, Lewis and Clark, Madison, Meagher, Park, Powell and Silver Bow counties – the 12 counties of Montana Private Pesticide District Region 2 – need to requalify by the end of 2014, said Cecil Tharp, pesticide education specialist with Montana State University Extension.
To help private applicators recertify before their licenses expire, the MSU Pesticide Safety Education and MSU Integrated Pest Management programs will hold six meetings over three days. The spring meetings -- offered for the first time this year, held in addition to fall workshops -- will be held from Monday, March 10, in Dillon and Whitehall; Tuesday, March 11, in Deer Lodge and Butte; Wednesday, March 12, in Townsend and Bozeman.
The meetings in Dillon, Deer Lodge and Townsend are morning sessions, running from 9 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. The meetings in Whitehall, Butte and Bozeman are afternoon sessions, running from 1:15 p.m. to 3:55 p.m. The meeting in Dillon is free. The other meetings cost $10 at the door.
All of the workshops will discuss crops insects that could be problems in 2014, such as wireworms, alfalfa weevils and grasshoppers. All six meetings will also discuss diagnosis of plant injuries, whether the damage comes from disease, insects or pesticides.
Tharp will give three pesticide talks that will vary by location. The session in Whitehall will focus on pesticide poisoning, while the one in Bozeman will focus on herbicide fate in the environment. At the other four locations, he will discuss pesticide performance and water quality. Water quality, including hardness and pH levels, can greatly influence the effectiveness of pesticides, Tharp said.
Each program will offer three private applicator recertification credits for attending, as well as two commercial/government applicator credits in the categories of dealer, demonstration and research pest control, agricultural plant pest control, ornamental and turf pest control, right of way pest control, school IPM and regulatory weed.
Montana has five private pesticide districts, with expiration dates staggered by district. The private applicator license certification cycle lasts five years and always ends on Dec. 31 of the fifth year of the cycle. Courses in the 2014 Pest Management Tour are open to the public and any applicator who wants to recertify, but pre-registration is often required because of room size. Those who want to attend should contact Cecil Tharp at firstname.lastname@example.org or (406) 994-5067.
For exact locations and topics to be covered at each meeting, go to www.pesticides.montana.edu, select "The Private Applicator Program,” and click on the preferred county on the Montana map. For other information, contact Tharp at email@example.com or (406) 994-5067.
Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or firstname.lastname@example.org