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Review of restricted use pesticides and applicator licenses
Stacy Campbell
Stacy Campbell

As the 2024 field season gets into full swing, for farmers now is a good time for a refresher on restricted use pesticides (RUPs) and pesticide applicator licenses.

There are lots of ways to categorize pesticides, one of which is general use versus restricted use. In short, a general-use pesticide is one that can be used without any special training. A RUP, on the other hand, should only be used by an individual who is a certified pesticide applicator or is under the direct supervision of a certified pesticide applicator. RUPs are classified as such due to their potential to cause ‘unreasonable adverse effects’ on the environment, the applicator, or bystanders if appropriate precautions are not taken when using the product. A few of the RUPs you may be familiar with are Atrazine, Tordon 22K, and Warrior II. 

Private applicator versus commercial applicator licenses

There are two types of certifications that will allow you to use a RUP. A private applicator license allows you to use or supervise the use of a restricted use pesticide to produce an agricultural commodity on property owned or rented by you or your employer. However, a commercial license is needed if you are going to apply pesticides on someone else’s property and charge a fee for the service. 

You can contact your local Extension office if you need to obtain or renew your private applicator’s license. For commercial applicator license those are scheduled by KDA and you have to create an account with them and get registered ahead of time at  or call (785) 564-6688.

Also remember, there are some extra record-keeping requirements for individuals who apply RUPs. There is no standard form, but within two weeks of the application, you should document what was sprayed, including:

• the date and location of the application,

• product name and EPA registration number,

• total amount applied and area treated,

• the site to which the application was made, and

• the name and certification number of the applicator.

In our office we have a small pocket size “Pesticide Application Field Records” book that is free and you can pick up to record your pesticide applications, and a Chemical Weed Control for Field Crops, Pastures, Rangeland, and Noncropland book that is free and updated each year. This publication provides suggestions for chemical weed control in several major crops. 

Stacy Campbell is an Agriculture and Natural Resources agent for Cottonwood Extension District. Email him at scampbel@ksu.eduor call the Hays office, 785-628-9430.