Agricultural Fertilizer Certification.

In 2014, Governor John Kasich signed Senate Bill 150, which is intended to help improve water quality in Lake Erie and other lakes and streams around the state.  As a result of this law, anyone who applies fertilizer to 50 or more acres of land in Ohio and sells the crops from those lands is required to hold a valid Fertilizer Applicator Certificate by September 30, 2017.  This includes land used for row crops, greenhouses, vegetables, nurseries, and other crops grown for sale.  The Ohio Department of Agriculture is responsble for the enforcement of this law, and Ohio State Extension is responsible for conducting the training classes.  For any questions about the Fertilizer Certification regulations, contact the Extension Office by calling 440-326-5851.

Who needs to become certified?

Certification is required if:

  • you apply fertilizer to 50 or more acres of land for any crop that is intended to be sold
    • This includes any plants- corn, soybeans, wheat, greenhouses, nurseries, fruits, vegetables, etc.
    • Fertilizer is defined as any product with a guaranteed analysis (DAP, MAP, potash, Anhydrous, 28%, etc.)
      • fertilizer does not include products such as manure, lime, or compost, unless they have a guaranteed analysis

Certification is not required if:

  • you apply fertilizer to fewer than 50 acres
  • a custom applicator does the aplication
  • the crop is grown primarily for feed for your livestock, not for sale (ex. sliage, forage)
  • the only fertilizer you apply is starter fertilizer through the planter
  • another individual who is a family member or employee is certified and in direct supervision of the fertilizer application
    • direct supervisors must be within 25 miles or 2 hours from the application they are supervising
    • direct supervisors are reponsible for the fertilizer application and must instruct where, when, and how to apply the fertilizer

How do I become certified?

1. Attend a training session (no charge) from Ohio State Extension  (additional trainings across the state can be found here or here)

  • Certified Crop Advisors (CCA) or Certified Livestock Managers (CLM) need only submit proof of certification to ODA to receive fertilizer certificate

2. Following the training, complete an application, which OSU will send to the ODA

3a. For individuals holding a Pesticide License: the ODA will send you the fertilizer certificate for no charge

3b. For individuals without a Pesticide License: the ODA will send you an invoice for $30.  After the fee is paid, the fertilizer certificate will be sent

What could happen if I do not become certified?

The deadline to receive a fertilizer certification is September 30, 2017.  After this date, ODA will be randomly checking applicator records and credentials of individuals applying fertilizer.  If you are found to be out of compliance, the following items would be available to the ODA (view the official Enforcement release here).

  1. If a certification is required but not held, ODA would inform the individual to cease applications until properly certified.
  2. Issue a formal notice of warning
  3. Refuse to certify applicant
  4. Initiate litigation/court action
  5. Initiate criminal charges
    • 1st offense: Misdemeanor of the third degree (M3)
      • maximum fine: $500
      • maximum sentence: 60 days
    • 2nd offense: Misdemeanor of the second degree (M2)
      • maximum fine: $750
      • maximum sentence: 90 days
    • 3rd offense: Misdemeanor of the first degree (M1)
      • maximum fine: $1,000
      • maximum sentence: 180 days