The Farmer Pesticide Certificate

  From the December 11, 2017 Issue of Agri-News
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 “There are few things as annoying and expensive as having a load of grain sent back from the elevator,” says Harry Brook, crop specialist, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. Under the Grain act, grain elevators and mills are not allowed to receive any grain that contains living insects, so it is incredibly important to keep your harvested grain in good condition. There are several ways to combat an insect infestation in a grain bin.

Diatomaceous earth can be added to the grain as the bin fills. This can provide some protection. “Cooling the grain to -20◦C and keeping it there for a week will also kill off insects,” says Brook. “Or you can apply a fumigant to the bin, seal it up, and then air it out after a week.”

You need a Farmer Pesticide Certificate, however, to access aluminum phosphide, sold as Phostoxin or Gastoxin, and these fumigants only work when grain temperatures are 12⁰C or warmer. Since 2011, there is a much greater safety burden on users of aluminum phosphide. For details on safety requirements, refer to the label.

The Farmer Pesticide Certificate has been around for a long time, starting in the late 1990’s. The course it was updated in 2008 and a new 5-year, renewable certification was issued starting in 2010. “Once you have your certificate, it is good for 5 years,” says Brook. “It is renewable by attending a training course to refresh you knowledge of the material. You do not have to rewrite the exams to renew your certification.”

Farmer Pesticide Certificates are issued once the applicants have successfully completed the exam for the core course as well as the two endorsements on Stored Grain Pests and Vertibrate Pests (namely, Richardson Ground Squirrels). “Most producers contact their agricultural fieldman to attend a local training session,” says Brook. Only certified trainers can give the course and administer the exams. If a person wishes, they can study the course material then challenge the exam, but exams must be proctored by a certified instructor.

The core Farmer Pesticide training session helps producers reduce risks associated with pesticide use. The course is recommended for those completing the Alberta Environmental Farm Plan, and a Farmer Pesticide Certificate is a requirement for any farmer wishing to use restricted chemicals. “The Farmer Pesticide Certificate is also required for potato growers who need to access phorate for wireworm control, and for greenhouse growers,” says Brook.

If you have questions about the Farmer Pesticide Certificate, training sessions, or whether or not your certificate is still valid, contact the Ag-Info Centre at 310-FARM(3276) or email us at

310-FARM (3276)

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For more information about the content of this document, contact Caitlynn Reesor.
This document is maintained by Stephanie Irvine.
This information published to the web on November 27, 2017.