Iowa: As a Private Pesticide Applicator Can I Spray for my Neighbor?

    Pesticide sprayer being filled. Photo: Ohio State University

    It is the time of year when Extension Field Agronomists receive questions from farmers who have been asked if they can apply pesticides for their neighbors. There are a few things you should know before you agree to apply pesticides for your neighbors.

    A private pesticide applicator in Iowa is defined by Iowa Code as “a certified applicator who uses or supervises the use of any pesticide which is classified for restricted use on property owned or rented by the applicator or the applicator’s employer or, if applied without compensation other than trading of personal services between producers of agricultural commodities, on the property of another person.”

    If you are compensated to apply pesticides, you need to be certified as a commercial pesticide applicator AND you must be employed by a business that is licensed in pest control.

    Iowa Code § 206.5 also states “a person employed by a farmer not solely as a pesticide applicator who applies restricted use pesticides as an incidental part of the person’s general duties or a person who applies restricted use pesticides as an incidental part of a custom farming operation is required to meet the certification requirements of a private applicator.”

    As a private pesticide applicator who has been approached by neighbors to spray pesticides, also consider your liability if something goes wrong.  This is a discussion to have with your insurance company.

    Make sure you meet appropriate certification requirements for the type of pesticide applications you will be making.




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