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OSU Extension

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

October 16, 2015 - 2:29pm --

Who needs to be certified under the new Agricultural Nutrient Law?  Fertilizer certification is required by September 30, 2017 if you apply fertilizer to more than 50 acres of agricultural production grown primarily for sale.  Under this law, fertilizers are materials that contain one or more recognized plant nutrients and have a guaranteed analysis.  Limestone, manure and other residual farm products are excluded unless they are mixed with fertilizer materials.  A certificate is not required if you only use start-up fertilizer through the planter, or if a certified applicator makes the application for you.

Call the Ohio Department of Agriculture (614-728- 6987) if you are unsure whether your crop is “grown primarily for sale,” or primarily for livestock or other purposes.  Both horticultural and agronomic crops are included in this law.

Direct Supervision  -  You may apply fertilizer to more than 50 acres without the certificate if making that application under the instruction and control of a certified applicator who is an immediate family member, or employed by the same business.  Instructions must include where, when, and how to apply the fertilizer.  The responsible certified applicator must be within 25 miles or 2 hours travel from the applicator during the application.

Certification Process  -  There is no distinction between commercial and private fertilizer applicators.  There are procedural differences for certifying Ohio licensed pesticide applicators and non-pesticide applicators.

No pesticide license.  Fertilizer Applicators are certified by:

  1. Attending a three hour Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA)-approved training and completing the forms at the end of the meeting;
  2. Submitting an application, and;
  3. Paying a $30.00 fee to the ODA.

The ODA sends the application after the training is completed; once the fee and application are received, the ODA mails the fertilizer certificate.

Licensed Pesticide Applicators  -  There is a different initial fertilizer certification procedure for pesticide applicators licensed in the State of Ohio, and no fee for the fertilizer certificate.  Pesticide applicators may attend the two-hour ODA-approved certification programs that are offered with OSU pesticide applicator recertification programs.  At the end of the certification training, pesticide applicators will complete a form.  They are not required to fill out a separate application or pay a fee; the ODA will mail the fertilizer certificate after the training as long as the form was filled out and returned at the end of the certification meeting.

Certified Crop Advisors and Certified Livestock Managers need a fertilizer certificate if applying to more than 50 acres, but are not required to attend training programs if they submit proof of their credentials to the ODA with the fertilizer certificate application.

Non-Pesticide applicators sign up for three hour certification meetings at:

Pesticide applicators sign up for two hour fertilizer certification meetings at:

Recertification  -  After the initial certification, fertilizer applicators will maintain certification by attending two hours of approved training and submitting the $30 fee to the ODA with a renewal application every three years.  There are differences for those with and without a pesticide license.  The $30 renewal fee is waived for pesticide applicators.  For non-pesticide applicators, the fertilizer certification year begins June 1st and ends May 30th, and recertification hours must be earned every three years prior to the May 30th deadline.

For pesticide applicators, the fertilizer recertification deadline will synchronize with the pesticide license deadline, regardless of when the fertilizer certificate was earned.  For example, if a licensed pesticide applicator renewed the pesticide license in 2014 and obtains a fertilizer certificate for the first time in 2015, both will expire on the pesticide license deadline in 2017.

For private pesticide applicators, the certification deadline for both fertilizer and pesticides will be March 31st; for commercial pesticide applicators, September 30th.

Fertilizer applicators will not be able to recertify in the first year of the three year cycle.

If your license is due to expire in 2016, you will receive notification from the Ohio Department of Agriculture.  Mark your calendar for Wednesday, January 13, 2016, as OSUE, Butler County will hold a Pesticide Recertification Class and the Fertilizer Applicator Certificate Training on that day. 

Source:  Agricultural Fertilizer Applicator Certification Training Manual

News Release provided by Cindy Meyer.