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Assessing the Impact of Educating Growers About Proper use of Atrazine in Pesticide Applicator Recertification Programs

  • Glenn R.W. Nice (a1), Fred Whitford (a1), Bill Johnson (a1) and Cheri Janssen (a1)

Abstract

Indiana growers who purchase restricted-use pesticides are required to show the agrochemical dealer their private pesticide applicator license before the transaction can be completed. To keep the license current, growers may attend three private applicator recertification meetings or retake the exam every 5 yr. The meetings are county-based and must be a minimum of 2 h in length; they must include a topic mandated by the Office of the State Chemist. During the 2005/2006 private applicator recertification program (PARP) cycle, off-site movement of atrazine into surface water was the regulatory topic presented to 2,887 participants at 69 meetings. A team of individuals from different disciplines prepared educational materials to support the regulatory topic of the year. Surveys to assess grower awareness were conducted at the meetings and 1 yr later to monitor the long-term impact of the educational effort, and to evaluate which tactics were being adopted to reduce off-site movement of atrazine. Growers farming more than 800 ha had a higher degree of concern than small growers regarding the loss of atrazine as a weed management tool. Eighty-nine percent of the growers thought there would be a 314 to 1,255 kg/ha yield loss if atrazine was removed from the marketplace. Eighty-four percent of the growers estimated that weed control costs would increase $15 to $25/ha if no other products were available to replace atrazine. The three most acceptable management strategies to reduce atrazine movement were: more attention to label setback distances, establishment of grass filter strips around surface water, and reducing atrazine rates by tank mixing with other herbicides. The results of this project indicated that statewide programs such as this are effective in increasing awareness of an issue and documenting the impact of extension education programs.

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Corresponding author

Corresponding author's E-mail: gnice@purdue.edu

References

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