Tory Moore, Public Relations Specialist, UF/IFAS Communications
UF/IFAS Extension and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) are working to identify ways to provide online testing for certified pesticide applicators while in-person testing is unavailable due to COVID-19.
All in-person UF/IFAS Extension programs and activities, including pesticide testing, have been postponed or cancelled through April 30. However, depending upon how this virus progresses, this date is subject to change.
With more than 60,000 licensed pesticide applicators in Florida, and about 9,000 exams administered annually to groups ranging in size from one to 300, UF/IFAS Extension understands the burden this places on stakeholders and the need for a web-based solution.
“UF/IFAS Extension is exploring ways to safely and securely test through distance technology,” Jay Ferrell, Director, UF/IFAS Pesticide Information Office said. “We are working with a private vendor right now that has the capability to do this. It is going to take some time, but we are trying to get his in place as we speak.”
Although FDACS granted a 30-day extension for certified pesticide applicators whose licenses are expiring, there are online tools available for current license holders to obtain credits toward renewal.
FDACS continues to monitor the situation and will determine if additional licensing extensions are necessary. Information on the FDACS license extension can be found on their website.