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Online Testing Now Available for Montana Pesticide Applicator

The Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA) is providing a new opportunity for pesticide applicators to take exams online through the Metro Insititute Centers

"We are excited to provide Montana's applicators with a new opportunity to take their tests online," said Rory Ruffner, Pesticide Licensing, Registration & Training Program Manager at Montana Department of Agriculture. "The Department aims to provide services that are efficient and easy to use and this new online option does exactly that. The challenges of the last year have shown that our applicators are willing to utilize technology and see it as a solution that can help them succeed."

The exams are computer-based and allow for instant exam results and analysis. The cost for online exams taken through Metro Institute is $58. MDA will continue to proctor tests in person and applicators are encouraged to work with staff at their local MDA Field Office to arrange a testing time. 

Click here to sign up for an online pesticide exam through Metro Institute.  Currently testing facilities are available in Great Falls, Missoula, Bozeman, Helena, and Glendive with more cities to be added in the near future.


COVID-19 UPDATE FOR PESTICIDE APPLICATOR TESTING:

The way tests are proctored and where the exams are given has changed to minimize the risk of exposure.  Please contact your local MDA Field Office to schedule an exam using the following website:  https://agr.mt.gov/ASBFieldOffices


COMMERCIAL APPLICATORS!  

REMINDERBeginning January 1, 2021, liability insurance will be the only accepted means of financial responsibility. Commercial applicators required to meet the financial responsibility requirements of the pesticide license must do so through insurance. Proof of financial responsibility must be provided before a license is issued. Aerial applicators must have an insurance policy with minimum relative liability limits of $50,000. All other commercial applicators must carry minimum relative coverage of $30,000. Coverage must be maintained in full force, be effective the entire licensing period, and must cover any off-target chemical damage. See Administrative Rules of Montana (ARM) 4.10.101 through 4.10.108 for additional clarification pertaining to requirements and exemptions.

 

Montana Pesticide Licenses

MDA issues licenses to sell or apply pesticides to individuals certified through specialized training and testing designed to protect producers, consumers and the environment. These licenses are issued by type and classification based on appropriate education and testing for each.

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Click on the specific license type in the tabs below to obtain information about fees, forms, reports, and other aspects of licensing.

Pesticide License Types

Commercial Applicators are individuals, who by contract or for hire, apply pesticides by aerial, ground, or hand equipment to land, plants, seed, animals, water, structures, or vehicles. Commercial applicators receive specialized training and testing appropriate to categories for which they are licensed. For more information click on Commercial Applicators in tabs below.

Public Utility Applicators apply pesticides to land owned or leased by a public utility. Training and licensing are the same as for commercial applicators. For more information click on Commercial Applicators in the tabs below.

Government Applicators are individuals who apply pesticides for a city, county, or state or other government agency to public land or right-of-way, or as a public service. Government applicators and must meet the same standards as commercial applicators.

Non-Commercial Applicators are individuals who cannot be classified as a commercial, public utility, governmental or private pesticide applicators, but desire to apply restricted-use pesticides. These individuals need to be classified into one of the 11 categories established for commercial applicators and may use restricted-use pesticides on lands owned, rented, or leased by an employer or by the license holder. For more information click on the Commercial Applicators tab below for more information.

Operators are employees of licensed or certified applicators who do not hold a commercial license. These individuals must be licensed as operators under the licensed applicator and may not apply pesticides more than 100 miles from the licensed applicator's physical location. To obtain an operator's license, an individual may: 1) pass a department exam with a score of 80% or better; 2) attend a department training course; or 3) receive training from a certified applicator. Operator licenses must be renewed each calendar year before applying pesticides. Operators may be added under the licensed applicator at renewal or added by using the Operator Application Form listed below. For more information click on Commercial Applicators in the tabs below.

Government Applicators are individuals who apply pesticides for a city, county, or state or other government agency to public land or right-of-way, or as a public service. Government applicators must meet the same standards as commercial applicators.

Government Operators are employees of licensed government applicators who do not hold an applicator license, but make pesticide applications under the direct supervision of the government applicator. These individuals must be licensed as operators under the government applicator and can operate only within their respective governmental jurisdiction. For more information click on Government Applicators in the tabs below.

Nonresidents applying for a license to apply pesticides in Montana under reciprocity must be certified for applying pesticides in their state of residence. Passing our examination on Montana's Rules & Regulations is always required before applying for reciprocity. Look under Reciprocity in the pdf links below for our "Out of State Requirements" to see how to setup an examination as well as the full list of requirements for applying for a Montana reciprocal pesticide license. For more information click on Commercial Applicators in the tabs below.

A Pesticide Dealer is any person who sells, wholesales, exchanges, barters, or gives away any pesticide in or into Montana except products intended only for home, yard, garden, home orchard, ornamental trees, bushes, and lawn. For more information click on Pesticide Dealers in the tabs below.

A Private Applicator is any person who applies restricted use pesticides to their own crop, land or leased lands. For more information click on Private Applicator in the tabs below.

Additional information is available by calling Pesticide Licensing, at (406) 444-4900, or by e-mail at agr@mt.gov.

Commercial, Noncommercial & Public Utility Applicator Licensing

Any person in the business of applying pesticides must obtain an applicator's license from the department. To obtain a license, a person must pass examinations, complete an application form and pay a licensing fee. See the licensing main page for definitions of specific license types. Commercial, non-commercial, special utility and government applicators also must pass exam questions related to pest categories in which they work.   

 Liability

Commercial applicators, except wood product treatment and seed treatment classifications, must meet financial liability requirements. These liability requirements may only be met through liability insurance. A commercial pesticide applicator must show proof of financial responsibility before a license is issued. Then, each year a current certificate of insurance must be on file with the MDA. Licenses without current financial responsibility records on file are noncompliant and will be delinquent. The MDA financial responsibility form is available for use and is linked in the pdfs at the bottom of the page.

Minimum Liability Limits:

An aerial applicator must carry minimum liability insurance of $50,000. All other applicators must carry minimum liability insurance of $30,000. The financial responsibility must be maintained in full force and be effective during each entire licensing period.   

Applicator licenses expire each December 31 and must be renewed annually before pesticides are applied.   

More information on initial licensing, study materials and pest categories is available in the instructions for pesticide dealer and applicator licensing (PDF format).

Required Records

Applicators must maintain all application for a period of two years. Montana Department of Agriculture containing information on the use and sale of agricultural chemicals. If no restricted or general use pesticides are used during the time period, that information must be documented to the department.

How to Obtain a License

  • Pass a core exam and category-specific sections for general and restricted-use products with an 80% or better score.
  • Meet liability insurance requirements. (Commercial Applicators.)
  • Complete an application form.
  • Pay applicable license fees of $85 plus any fees for operators.

Fees

  • $85.00 per year
  • $25.00 per operator (first 2 operators)
  • $10.00 per operator (additional operators)

 

Commercial Applicator Classifications

Core Certification - Core certification is required for all pesticide applicators and dealers wishing to become licensed in the state of Montana. This is accomplished by learning how to handle pesticides correctly and how to protect yourself, others and the environment from pesticide misuse. Study materials titled "National Pesticide Applicator Certification Core Manual" and "Montana State Laws and Regulations Pertaining to the Use of Pesticides" are available from the department or can be found online at the links below.

These classification categories determine additional test questions that may be required:

(21) Aerial - Applicators who apply pesticides by aircraft.

(30) Agricultural Plant Pest Control - Plant classification includes any applicator using or supervising the use of pesticides in the production of agricultural crops, including but not limited to small grains, feed grains, soybeans and forage, vegetables, small fruits, tree fruits and nuts, as well as on grasslands and non-crop agricultural lands.

(31) Agricultural Animal Pest Control - Animal classification includes any applicator using or supervising the use of pesticides on animals including but not limited to beef cattle, dairy cattle, swine, sheep, horses, goats, poultry and livestock, and to places on or in which animals are confined. Doctors of veterinary medicine engaged in the business of applying restricted use pesticides for hire, publicly holding themselves out as pesticide applicators, or engaged in a large scale use of restricted pesticide are included in this classification and must be certified-licensed.

(32) Agricultural Vertebrate Pest Control - Vertebrate classification includes any applicator using or supervising the use of pesticides in the management of vertebrate animals normally wild or feral, including certain predators, rodents, and birds, which may adversely affect human health, property, or are a nuisance to people.

(33) Forest Pest Control classification includes any applicator using or supervising the use of pesticides in forests, forest nurseries, and forest seed-producing areas. Forest Pest Control study manual is available at the link below.

(34) Ornamental and Turf Pest Control classification includes any applicator using or supervising the use of pesticides to control pests in the maintenance and production of ornamental trees, shrubs, flowers, and turf.

(35) Seed Treatment and Elevator Pest Control classification includes any applicator using or supervising the use of pesticides onto seeds, the use of fumigants in seed storage areas or on or in seeds and the use of pesticides in or aground the elevator seed storage facilities.

(36) Aquatic Pest Control classification includes any applicator using or supervising the use of pesticides purposefully applied to standing or running water, excluding applicators engaged in the Public Health Pest Control category.

(37) Right-of-Way, Rangeland, Pasture, and Noncrop Pest Control classification includes any applicator using or supervising the use of pesticides to manage weeds or other vegetation in the maintenance of public roads, electric power lines, pipelines, railway rights-of-way, or other similar areas, as well as grassland and pastures that are not harvested for forage, and on noncrop areas.

(38) Public Health Pest Control classification includes state, federal, or other governmental employees or contracted commercial applicators using or supervising the use of pesticides in public health programs for the management and control of pests having medical and public health importance. The jurisdictional health officer, state veterinarian, their duly authorized representatives, and governmental research personnel are exempt from licensing when applying general use pesticides to experimental areas.

(39) Demonstration and Research – This classification includes: a) Individuals who demonstrate to the public the proper use of pesticides and pesticide application techniques or supervise such demonstrations or make or approve recommendations on pesticide product use and/or selection (Persons licensed as Dealers are exempt from this classification); b) Individuals conducting field research with pesticides and in doing so, use or supervise the use of pesticides.

(40) Industrial, Institutional, Structural, and Health Related Pest Control classification includes any applicator using or supervising the use of pesticides in, on, or around food handling and manufacturing establishments, human dwellings, institutions, such as schools and hospitals, industrial establishments including warehouses, and any other structures and adjacent areas, public or private, and for the protection of stored, process, or manufactured products.

(41) Wood Product Pest Control classification includes any applicator using or supervising the use of pesticides for pole framing, silling applications, some home and farm uses, brush on treatments, sapstain control, and uses in non-pressure treatment plants for the protection of wood products.

(43) Sodium Cyanide (M-44) classification includes any applicator using M-44 cyanide capsules to control certain wild canids: coyotes, red fox, gray fox and wild dogs that depredate livestock and poultry. Special training and a field exam is required after passing the written exam.

(44) Special Utility classification includes any applicator using or supervising the use of pesticides for pole wraps, utility right-of-way, or similar uses.

(45) School IPM Pest Control classification includes applicators using or supervising the use of pesticides in the school environment, including but not limited to school yards, buildings, playing fields, and other property under the jurisdiction of the school districts.

(46) Piscicide Pest – Applicators using or supervising the use of pesticides purposefully applied to waters to eliminate fish species as a fishery management tool.

(56) Other – Applicators using or supervising the use of pesticides in environments that are not included in any other classification e.g., Sewer Treatment, Biocides, Animal Contraceptives, etc.

All state agencies, municipal corporations, or any other government agencies are subject to the same examination, completed application form and licensing fee requirement as the commercial and public utility applicators.

How to Obtain a License

  • Passing exams (core exam as well as category specific exams) with an 80% or better for general-use and/or restricted use products.
  • Completing an application form.
  • Paying a licensing fee of $70.

Fees

  • $70.00 - first four Dealer and/or Applicator licenses per agency.
  • $15.00 - each additional Dealer and/or Applicator.
  • Additional Operator fees, if any, apply to each Applicator.
  • $895.00 - maximum annual fee per agency.
 

Government Applicator Categories

Core Certification must be achieved by all pesticide applicators and dealers wishing to become licensed in the state of Montana. This is accomplished by learning how to handle pesticides correctly and how to protect yourself, others and the environment from pesticide misuse. Study materials entitled "National Pesticide Applicator Certification Core Manual" and "Montana State Laws and Regulations Pertaining to the Use of Pesticides" are available from the department or can be found at the links below.

Regulatory Pest Control classification includes state, federal, county, or other governmental employees who use or supervise the use of pesticides in the control of regulated pests. The following sub classifications of government applicators are established to more accurately reflect some government applicator's specific duties and areas of operation.

  • (50) Mosquito Abatement
  • (51) Predator
  • (54) Rodent
  • (55) Weed
  • (56) Other (Sewer Treatment, Biocides, Etc.)

A dealer is a person who sells, wholesales, exchanges, barters, or gives away within Montana any pesticide except those pesticides intended for home, yard, garden, home orchard, shade trees, ornamental trees, bushes, and lawn.

A separate dealer's license and fee is required for each location or outlet from which pesticides are distributed, sold, held for sale, or offered for sale.

How to Obtain a License

  • Passing a core exam with an 80% or better.
  • Completing an application form.
  • Paying a license fee of $85 Commercial or $70 Governmental.

Dealer Records

All pesticide dealers are required to maintain shipping, purchase, or invoice records of all pesticide products received. A complete and accurate record of all restricted use pesticides purchased and sold also must be maintained. Pesticide records must be kept for 2 years and made available to the department upon request.

Records for each sale of a restricted use pesticide must include:

  1. The company name on the label
  2. The trade name or the EPA registration number
  3. The volume sold
  4. The license number of the certified applicator or dealer
  5. The name of the certified applicator or purchaser
  6. Date of the transaction

Salespeople

Pesticide field personnel or salespeople employed directly out of the same location or outlet and under a licensed dealer are not required to obtain a license. The dealer shall furnish the department with the names and addresses of the dealer's field personnel and salespeople selling pesticides within the state.

Fees

  • $85.00 per year ($70.00 for non-federal governmental agencies)
  • $25.00 late fee after March 1st

Private (Farm) Pesticide Applicators

A private applicator is defined as a person applying restricted-use pesticides for agriculture on land owned, rented, or leased by the person or by his or her employer.

Private applicators must be licensed prior to purchasing and using any fungicide, herbicide, insecticide or rodenticide that is labeled as a restricted-use product. A person interested in becoming a private applicator must either:

  • pass a graded written exam from a local office of the Montana State University (MSU) Extension Service, or
  • attend a training course provided by MSU Extension Service and take an ungraded written exam.

The fee for the private applicator license is $60 and the license is effective for five years. Private applicators wanting to renew their license must acquire six continuing education credits in five years by attending approved training courses.

Private applicators are required to keep records of all restricted use pesticides that they apply. These records must be logged within 14 days of the application and kept for two years following the application. Recordkeeping requirements include the date of application, field location, product information and other information, and can be found on the USDA Pesticide Record Keeping Program website.

Fees

  • $60.00 for a five year license

Pesticide Program News

Noxious Weed Management Advisory Council is Recruiting for Open Positions

Applications and nominations due May 1, 2021

Noxious Weed Management Advisory Council is Recruiting for Open Positions

The Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA) is currently recruiting for open positions on its Noxious Weed Management Advisory Council (NWMAC). The following council terms expire June 30, 2021:

  • Livestock Production Representative
  • Herbicide Dealer or Applicator
  • Biological Research and Control Interests Representative
  • Western County Weed District Representative
  • Agriculture Crop Production Representative

Click here to learn more about the Noxious Weed Management Advisory Council and apply. 

Documents to download

Governor Gianforte Lifts Regulations for Fertilizer Delivery to Support Montana's Ag Industry

Hours of service regulations temporarily suspended for certain carriers to facilitate and expedite the delivery of fertilizer to Montana's farmers

Governor Gianforte Lifts Regulations for Fertilizer Delivery to Support Montana's Ag Industry

Governor Greg Gianforte issued an executive order that temporarily suspends hours of service regulations for certain carriers to facilitate and expedite the delivery of fertilizer to Montana’s farmers.

Agriculture producers regularly face a compressed spring planting schedule due to late snowfalls and wet conditions which increase the demand for anhydrous ammonia and other fertilizers across the state. Waiving hours of service requirements ensures that fertilizer haulers can meet the needs of the industry by delivering greater volumes in a short timeframe.

The order pertains only to carriers actively involved in transporting anhydrous ammonia and other fertilizers requires haulers to operate safely and prudently.

The order is effective from April 1 to June 6, 2021 and can be found here.

Documents to download

Tari Nyland
 Pesticide Licensing Examiner Specialist

Phone : (406) 444-4900
E-mail : Tari.Nyland@mt.gov
Fax : (406) 444-9493


Rory Ruffner
Pesticide Licensing, Registration & Training Program Manager

Phone : (406) 444-3676
E-mail : Rory.Ruffner@mt.gov
Fax : (406) 444-9493
302 N Roberts
Helena, MT 59601


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