By Heather Cameron
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
M.D. of Taber Agricultural Services will be holding a Farmer Pesticide Course on Wednesday, January 10, 2024, Wednesday, February 7, 2024, Wednesday, March 6, 2024, and Wednesday, April 3, 2024 beginning at 8:30 a.m. at the M.D. of Taber’s Operations & Maintenance Facility at 171027 AB-3, located one kilometre west of Taber on Highway 3.
“The Farmer Pesticide Certification course is a tool intended to help farmers reduce risks associated with pesticide use,” Jorden Holst, Interim Director of Agricultural Services for the M.D. of Taber, said. “This course is recommended under the Alberta Environmental Farm Plan, but is also mandatory for farmers who wish to use restricted pesticides that require certification.”
Holst says that the course is made up of seven modules that cover general information on pesticides, poisoning and First Aid, safe handling procedures, environmental safety, integrated pest management, legislation and food safety, and pesticide application and equipment calibration. At the end of these modules, Holst says, there is a comprehensive exam. Holst says that there are also an additional two endorsements that cover pest control in stored grain and exterior rodent control, and each of these endorsements has their own exam as well.
“The course teaches the basic fundamentals of pesticide use and safety,” Holst said. “It is valuable for anyone who works with or around pesticides on the farm. It is required for farmers who need access to restricted chemicals that require extra precautions and safety. The course is also important for programs such as CanadaGAP and the Environmental Farm Plan.”
The course, Holst says, costs $40 and includes the course manual and lunch. The M.D. of Taber, Holst says, offers this course on a yearly basis, and several other municipalities also offer the course.
“The content of the course is largely unchanged, other than updates to regulations and legislation,” Holst said. “How the course is presented has changed to make it more efficient and streamlined, and a better learning experience for those who attend.”
The course material can be found on the Alberta Government website, Holst says. Other municipalities offer the same course, Holst says, and the course material is also available on that website. There are other, more in-depth pesticide related courses that individuals can take to receive more certification in pesticide use, such as a Certified Pesticide Applicator License.
“The course was brought about to educate farmers on proper pesticide use and safety, as well as help them get certification for access to restricted pesticides,” Holst said. “Any farmer needing to use restricted pesticides, or anyone who works on the farm and around pesticides would find the course interesting and important.”
“As the course is required for farmers to gain access to certain restricted pesticides, the response is typically quite positive,” Holst said. “The safety aspect of the course is also very beneficial for anyone working around pesticides on the farm, whether or not they are restricted.”
In order to take the course, people must be 18 years of age or older, must be fluent in English, and must prepay the registration fee. The registration form, Holt says, can be found at: https://www.mdtaber.ab.ca/p/courses-workshops.
“The course is very beneficial for farmers and employers who would like to educate their staff on pesticide safety,” Holst said.