From the tractor
by Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler
This is a particularly newsy edition of the Agricultural Review, and I want to use my column to encourage you to carefully read the articles this month.
The beginning of a new year often ushers in changes in rules and laws across the board, and this year is no exception for those in agriculture.
On page 8 of the newspaper, I hope you will pay special attention to two articles that highlight changes involving the Worker Protection Standard and new labeling requirements for products containing 2,4-D or dicamba intended to be used in conjunction with 2,4-D or dicamba-tolerant cotton and soybean crops.
The new labeling requirement for dicamba means there is now mandatory training for applicators before they can use this product. A series of classes in February and March will be offered across the state to ensure growers wanting to use these products have access to proper training. We have listed the dates and locations of upcoming classes in the article, and I hope readers will be able to attend. By attending class, growers will be able to earn two hours of pesticide recertification credits in categories N, O, D and X upon completion.
New changes to the Worker Protection Standard rules represent the first significant revisions made since 1992. I would strongly encourage farmers to read these changes carefully so you will be up-to-date on requirements involving workers.
Changes cover annual mandatory training, the minimum-age requirement for pesticide applicators, display requirements following pesticide applications and safety data sheets that must be kept on file, new respirator requirements, the need to add an eye-flushing system when eye protection is required and other items.
The article spells out new changes to the rules in more detail, and you can also contact our Structural Pest and Pesticide Division at 919-733-3556 if you have additional questions. We are here to assist with compliance.
If there is one thing I have learned over the years, it is to expect change. It is an inevitable fact of life, but it doesn’t mean we are ever ready for it. Again, educate yourself so you will be in compliance with any rule changes.
It is also worthy to note the Feb. 22 referendum on the continuation of the corn assessment to support the work of the Corn Growers Association of North Carolina involving international and domestic marketing, research and education, grants to Cooperative Extension offices and legislative efforts.
It is a busy time of year as growers are attending commodity meetings, repairing equipment and making plans for the upcoming season, but it is critical to stay up on changes involving your operations.