Farmer Pesticide Training Certificate Course

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  Introduction | Interactive Learning Activities | Module 1 | Module 2 | Module 3 | Module 4 | Module 5 | Module 6 | Module 7 | Pest Control in Stored Grain | Endorsement for Exterior Rodent Control


Pesticides play a vital role in modern farming in Alberta. Used properly, they are an effective method of protecting crops and livestock. However, if used incorrectly, these chemicals have the potential to cause serious harm to people and the environment. It is therefore essential that farmers use pesticides in the most professional manner, to insure that unintended adverse effects are minimized. The Farmer Pesticide Certification course is a tool intended to help farmers to reduce risks associated with pesticide use. 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.

There are two main ways to get your Farmer Pesticide Certificate. Both require a written exam of the course material. The exam must be proctored by a certified trainer for this course. You can either challenge the exam after studying the course material or else contact your Agricultural Fieldman to arrange a training session. Many Ag fieldmen are trainers. The course is composed of seven core modules offered in pdf format, which contain the study material for the basic certificate. Additional modules (two at this time) are available for specific endorsements, which are now required for restricted products, such as aluminum phosphide. The course material can be downloaded from this page by clicking on the link provided (blue text). Carefully read and complete all exercises in order to prepare for the exam.

New certificates or endorsements will be issued following successful completion of an exam, which can be written at predetermined times and locations. Where there is sufficient demand a classroom training course may also be offered.

For information on schedules for exams and training courses contact your Agricultural Fieldman or the Ag Info Centre at 310-3276.

Farmer Pesticide Certification Learning Activities

Module 1: Pesticides

Pesticides are chemical products used for the destruction of pests such as insects, weeds, diseases and other undesirable organisms. Because pesticides are potentially dangerous, you must follow proper procedures to minimize health risks and potential damage to the environment.

After you have completed this module, you will be able to:
  • Provide a definition of pesticide
  • Describe how pesticides work
  • Identify different types of pesticide formulations
  • Understand adjuvants and their purpose
  • Understand the symbols and information on a pesticide label
  • Understand the type of information in MSDS sheets
  • Be aware of pesticide compatibility.
Click here to go to Module 1. Module 1 is 535 KB.

Module 2: Poisoning and First Aid

Poison is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary as “a substance that causes injury, illness, or death, especially by chemical means”. Poisoning occurs when a living organism is exposed to a substance that produces one or more of such effects. The potency of a poison is determined by its toxicity.

After you have completed this module, you will be able to:
  • Understand hazard ratings
  • Identify the routes of entry of pesticides into the body
  • Differentiate between acute and chronic toxicity
  • Explain what is meant by LD50
  • Identify the most common signs and symptoms of poisoning
  • List essential information required in case of an emergency
  • Assist a person in case of poisoning.
Click here to go to Module 2. Module 2 is 346 KB.

Module 3: Safe Handling Procedures

Safety is critical for all activities using pesticides: selection, purchase, storage, transportation, mixing, application, cleanup and maintenance of application equipment.
After you have completed this module, you will be able to:
  • Handle pesticides safely during buying, transporting, mixing, cleaning up, storing and applying;
  • Dispose of pesticide containers as regulated and understand the importance of triple rinsing
  • Deal appropriately with surplus spray or pesticide concentrates
  • Select suitable protective clothing and equipment as required
  • Care for and store protective clothing and equipment in a safe manner.
Click here to go to Module 3. Module 3 is 400 KB.

Module 4: Environmental Safety

Pesticides are designed to kill pests, but they also can have negative effects on other organisms or the environment. Although pesticides are carefully studied before registration is granted, they do have the potential to cause unintended damage. There is always an element of risk when pesticides are used. The risk varies with the particular circumstances and is subject to interpretation; however, it usually involves more than one person or entity.

After you have completed this module, you will be able to:
  • Address concerns of potential stakeholders
  • Outline what happens to pesticides in the environment
  • Describe the principal environmental hazards
  • Deal appropriately with a pesticide spill
  • Take measures to protect non-target organisms.
Click here to go to Module 4. Module 4 is 352 KB.

Module 5: Integrated Pest Management

The goal of pest management is to manage pests effectively, economically and safely. Pest management usually involves suppressing pests to an acceptable level. It does not usually involve totally eliminating the pest.

Integrated pest management (IPM) is a decision-making process for preventing pest problems and for determining what actions to take when pest problems occur. In IPM programs, all available information and treatment methods are considered in order to manage pest populations effectively, economically and in an environmentally sound manner.
After you have completed this module, you will be able to:
  • Describe the components of integrated pest management
  • Explain the importance of correctly identifying pests and understanding their lifecycles
  • Develop a system for monitoring
  • Explain injury and action threshold
  • Outline how pesticide resistance develops.
Click here to go to Module 5. Module 5 is 377 KB.

Module 6: Legislation and Food Safety

Pesticide legislation protects you, your crops, your livestock, consumers and the environment from the improper sale and handling of pesticides. Both federal and provincial laws in Canada control pesticides.

After you have completed this module, you will be able to:
  • List three ways that pesticide related legislation impacts your farming operation
  • Identify requirements under The Pest Control Products Act
  • Discuss five requirements under Alberta Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act
  • Reduce pesticide residues in foods you produce.
Click here to go to Module 6. Module 6 is 293 KB.

Module 7: Pesticide Application and Equipment Calibration

It is very important to apply pesticides correctly to ensure your personal safety, obtain the best efficacy, protect the environment and avoid pesticide residues in the food you produce.

After you have completed this module, you will be able to:

  • Select the correct equipment to apply pesticides in a safe manner
  • Minimize off-target applications
  • Calculate the correct pesticide dose
  • Complete essential maintenance calibrations.
Click here to go to Module 7. Module 7 is 385 KB.

Endorsement for Pest Control in Stored Grain

This module is required if you intend to fumigate with aluminum phosphide and your Farmer Pesticide Certificate has been issued after Jan. 1, 2009.
Click here to go to the Pest Control in Stored Grain Module. 192 KB.

Endorsement for Exterior Rodent Control

This module is required if you intend to use restricted rodenticides on your farm and your Farmer Pesticide Certificate has been issued after January 1, 2009.
Click here to go to the Exterior Rodent Control. 211KB
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For more information about the content of this document, contact Harry Brook.
This document is maintained by Mary Ann Nelson.
This information published to the web on June 18, 2008.
Last Reviewed/Revised on March 2, 2018.