Pesticide Training

Pesticide programs help Musselshell-Golden Valley applicators meet requirements

Musselshell and Golden Valley counties make up the Lower Musselshell Valley, a winding river corridor that is home to cattle and forage producers aplenty. The Valley is also home to large infestations of Spotted Knapweed, Leafy Spurge, Dalmatian Toadflax, and the ever-present prairie dog and ground squirrel.

 One hundred-fifty individuals across the two counties hold a Private Applicators license to combat these pests with Restricted Use Pesticides (RUPs). Beginning January 1, 2017 these individuals will have one year to finish collecting six applicator points required to maintain their license.

 This will mark the final year of our five-year cycle where applicators must make an effort to obtain those credits. Since October of 2015, the new Agent in Musselshell and Golden Valley has been offering an abundance of programming to get these applicators re-certified for the next cycle. Training courses have been designed around the needs of the local applicators, focusing on their problem pests, areas of interest, and frustrations.

 In 2016 MSU Extension has organized six pesticide programs for producers to obtain credits. These programs have put forward 18 points of credits for producers, an opportunity which many took advantage of.

 Programs have included real scenarios of producers; tank mixing, herbicide selection, off-target damage, and of course rodent control. Varmints play a large factor in many producers choice to obtain a license to apply RUPs. For many of these applicators, information on varmints plays a big role in their attendance. At our spring training in May, Stephen Vantassel, the Vertebrate Specialist with Montana Department of Ag, spoke to producers about controlling their rodent problems.

 That same training in May saw a record number of attendees at 45 across both counties, since the average number of attendees is between 20-25. Those numbers have contributed to the 56 applicators across the two counties who have met their re-certification goal, with another 37 expected to reach their goal with the next training in March.

 With the number of invasive species in the county, which in recent years has been promoted by flood and fire, applicator knowledge is at its most critical. Having this many individuals in the field applying, having up-to-date information and trainings that focus on their concerns, rather than rote-memorization, has become especially critical. And the number of individuals who come to the trainings continues to grow, including those who do not hold a license, and choose to attend based on the information provided.

Read more about MSU Extension in Musselshell-Golden Valley counties.