Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association
Supply · Service · Stewardship

IFCA Regulatory Alert: Guidance on Dicamba Use and Applicator Licensing

Yesterday USEPA announced that dicamba will be labeled for use on soybeans in 2019 and 2020, and indicated that all applicators needed to be "certified applicators" in order to apply the product.  
The Illinois Pesticide Act outlines several categories of testing and licensing:  Certified Applicators (which include commercial applicators and private applicators) and licensed operators, who must also pass a competency exam to be licensed to work under the supervision of a certified commercial applicator.  States are unique in how they each license applicators and/or operators.  
Illinois has approximately 5,000 licensed commercial operators, who perform the majority of all commercial pesticide applications.  It may be that these operators will need to take the additional Field Crops exam to become "certified applicators" but IFCA advises our members to wait until the product labels are issued--no one (including IDA) knows the details yet of how this will be outlined on the labels.  Our advice is to sit tight and wait until we have more information before rushing to sign up your operators for the field crops exam.    
Resolving this uncertainty is IFCA's top priority, and we believe that the fact that our licensed operators have demonstrated competency meets the intent of what appears to be the desire by the registrants and USEPA to have only trained, certified and licensed persons apply these products.  We need to see the labels, talk with IDA and USEPA and determine the best path forward for our members.  If indeed additional testing in field crops is required, we will also work to make ample training opportunities available and work with IDA to ensure that the process of operators becoming applicators just to apply dicamba does not also require full payment of a 3 year applicator license or other related regulatory requirements.  
There is much work ahead and a short time to resolve many questions.  We will keep you informed as this process evolves.