SPRINGFIELD -- A new website and free classes are enabling Illinois farmers and commercial pesticide applicators to get a jump on required dicamba training.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) is working with agriculture industry groups to facilitate statewide, classroom training to help certified applicators comply with new label requirements for products containing dicamba. Dicamba is the active ingredient in three U.S. EPA-approved herbicides to manage difficult weeds in soybean fields.
Illinois has over 15,000 licensed agriculture pesticide applicators that could potentially use these herbicides in 2018, so the scope of the training effort is significant.
"Illinois wants to be proactive in making sure farmers and applicators are aware of the new requirements. The attendance of farmers and commercial applicators at these training programs so far has been phenomenal, with over 1,000 applicators trained in just the first few weeks of classes," said Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Raymond Poe.
Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert added, "Illinois farmers are committed to the effective stewardship of this important soybean technology, and the great turnout at these training classes is a testament to how seriously farmers take the issue of proper pesticide use."
The Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association (IFCA) developed a website to facilitate the training. The class schedule, frequently asked questions, helpful resources and on-line registration for classes is available at www.ifca.com/illinoisdicambatraining. IDOA approved the training materials for the 90-minute classes to ensure quality and consistency. Those completing the training receive a certificate, which will assist the applicator in meeting one of the new recordkeeping requirements included on the product labels for 2018.
The Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Soybean Association and Illinois Corn Growers are promoting the training to their farmer members, and IFCA is working to ensure that all commercial applicators and operators receive the training.
According to Jean Payne, president of the IFCA, the proper stewardship of dicamba is paramount. "Although applicators are required to have training, we encourage everyone who plants dicamba tolerant soybeans to attend a class and understand the careful approach that must be taken to successfully steward this technology."