Compulsory pesticide training for farmers, distributors, inspectors, advisors

Farmers, distributors, inspectors and advisors across Ireland are set for compulsory pesticide training and pesticide registration by the Department of Agriculture over the next two years. In addition, plans are under way to have all pesticide equipment in Ireland inspected.

This is according to an update from the Department of Agriculture at the National Tillage Crops Forum in Newbridge, Co Kildare yesterday.

Shelia Macken of the Department’s pesticide controls division gave an update on the current Pesticides Implementation Plan for Ireland.

According to a 2009 EU Directive, Ireland must implement a framework for community action to achieve sustainable use of pesticides to protect human health and environment among other issues.

The tillage think-in yesterday was updated on the Agriculture Department’s framework for this plan, in terms of pesticide training for advisors, distributors, farmers and inspectors; equipment controls; storage, supply and use controls; and a pesticide use register.

Below is a breakdown of the presentation:

Advisors

In terms of training, the department is first of all calling on all advisors to register with the Pesticide Control Division before 26 November this year and to undergo training to get up to speed on the latest pesticide developments with the Irish Agricultural Supply Industry Standards (IASIS).

In terms of training new advisors post 26 November, a Diploma in Integrated Pest Management and the Sustainable use of Pesticides Level 7 will be set. This will be commencing in January 2014. This will involve four 24-hour modules and an independent study.

Distributors

All distributors across Ireland will be required to be trained and certified by 26 November 2015. There is a FETAC level two-day course and the IASIS will be running this course.

Farmers

Anyone who uses pesticides in the course of their professional activities will be required to be trained.  There is an exemption for grassland farmers only,  less than 20L per year and less than 10ha pa.

The tillage think-in heard farmers with Teagasc Level 5 certification, including pesticide application module, meet training requirements.

The training for farmers is set to take place over three days and the course will look at record keeping, storage and disposal issues and legislation.

Inspectors

Inspectors of equipment will also be required to be trained on the three-day course in conjunction with Teagasc. All participants, farmers, advisors and inspectors will be required to undergo a refresher course every three years.

The department is asking all advisors and inspectors of equipment to register by 26 November. The aim of the programme is to have all farmers, distributors and inspectors fully trained by November 2015, the tillage think-in heard yesterday.

In addition, it plans to have all application equipment inspected by November 2016, and all equipment inspected at least once every five years up to 2020.

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