CFAES Give Today
Agronomic Crops Network

Ohio State University Extension


When Can Unlicensed Applicators Spray on the Farm?

Many are asking who can legally apply pesticides on the farm since ODA postponed pesticide license testing. Ohio law requires a private pesticide license to use restricted use pesticides in agricultural production on the applicator’s property, the employer’s  property or rented land.  Restricted use pesticides are labeled as such, and cannot be purchased without a license.  No license is needed for application of general use pesticides in agricultural production on the applicator’s property, the employer’s  property or rented land.

Non-licensed family members or subordinate employees can apply restricted use pesticides under the direct supervision of the licensed private applicator under certain circumstances, as long as the pesticide label does not prohibit it.  The private applicator’s responsibilities are outlined below. 

What does the licensed private applicator need to provide to those working under direct supervision? 

  • The licensed applicator does not have to be present, but must be available if needed during the application
  • Pesticide labels must be at the worksite if licensed applicator not present
  • Personal Protective equipment as required by label

What are the age requirements for unlicensed applicators working under direct supervision  of a private applicator? 

  • If a family member, the only restriction is for Pesticides with Danger – Poison Signal word – the family member must be 18
  • If an employee – they must be 18  (a Worker Protection Standard (WPS) requirement)

What are the training requirements for unlicensed applicators?

  • Subordinate employees must receive WPS handler training annually
  • Family members are exempt from annual WPS handler training, except when respirators are required on the label.  In this case there are requirements under WPS for annual respirator training.

Which pesticides do NOT allow direct supervision (may only be applied by the licensed private applicator)?

  • Paraquat dichloride
  • Dicamba formulations used over the top of soybeans – Xtendimax, Engenia, FeXapan, and Tavium.
  • Any other pesticide that restricts use to certified (licensed) applicators

Also see:

Note: requirements for making applications under supervision of a commercial applicator are different.  For these see:

Crop Observation and Recommendation Network

C.O.R.N. Newsletter is a summary of crop observations, related information, and appropriate recommendations for Ohio crop producers and industry. C.O.R.N. Newsletter is produced by the Ohio State University Extension Agronomy Team, state specialists at The Ohio State University and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). C.O.R.N. Newsletter questions are directed to Extension and OARDC state specialists and associates at Ohio State.