Growing and cultivating crops is big business. The goal is to obtain a high yield of marketable crops. This means making sure they reach harvest time in good condition.
This often requires the application of pesticides in order to prevent infestations, decay and loss of viable plants. If you believe that you could provide a service to those in the agricultural business by applying those pesticides for them, you may want to make sure that you comply with Georgia and federal laws first.
A Commercial Pesticide Applicator license
You will need a commercial applicator license if you intend to do the following:
- Charge a fee for the application
- Purchase a pesticide
- Supervise the use of a pesticide
- Use a pesticide
Your license will indicate whether you may use restricted-use pesticides and/or general-use pesticides. In order to charge a fee, your company must acquire a Pesticide Contractor license for each of your business’ locations. You must also have at least one full-time Commercial Pesticide Applicator working at each location. Your company may only purchase pesticides covered by the license.
What does it take to get this license?
The state doesn’t just issue these licenses. You must take and pass the “Applying Pesticides Correctly General Standards” manual exam and categorical exams covering the application of specific pesticides.
If you pass your exams, you then send a $90 money order to the Georgia Department of Agriculture, which will send you your license. If you pass one exam, but fail another, you have up to one year to pass the exam that you failed before you have to start over again. The minimum passing score is 70 percent.
Your license is good for five years. You can renew it no later than 90 days prior to its expiration, and you must complete all applicable recertification courses before that time. Only those credits approved by the Georgia Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Program will count toward your required number, which varies, depending on your category.
Compliance goes beyond your license
Obtaining the necessary licenses to charge a fee to use pesticides on someone else’s property is only one part of the laws with which your business must comply. In order to understand all of the laws applicable to your business, you would greatly benefit from sitting down with an environmental law attorney to discuss them and gain an understanding of how to remain in compliance.