Florida pesticide applicator testing goes online

01/17/2013 01:44:00 PM
Vicky Boyd

aerial applicatorVicky BoydAerial applicators also have to pass tests to continue to apply crop-protection materials.Three counties in Florida—Hendry, Palm Beach and Duval—will now offer pesticide applicator testing online.

In the near future, the state will expand it to 10 to 12 counties, according to a news release.

In the past, testing relied on paper documents that had to be mailed between Extension offices and the Florida Department of Consumer Services in Tallahassee.

The back and forth could take several weeks.

The Web-based system links FDACS and the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences offices electronically.

The tests cover about 20 categories, with questions ranging from general to specific.

Under the new system, applicators must first obtain a voucher number from the FDACS website.

The applicant then uses the number to schedule an exam at an IFAS county Extension office.

Applicants must provide valid state-issued identification before taking the test.

In addition, applicants take the test on laptops programmed for the tests and nothing else, so they can't surf the Web looking for answers.

People who handle pesticides must be licensed in order to apply them to forests, lawns, farm fields and groves.

About 6,000 exams are administered to agricultural pesticide applicators annually, not counting the more than 1,500 structural applicators.

The state licensing website is at https://aesecomm.freshfromflorida.com.

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