Exemplary Pesticide Programs
2008 Award Winners
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) and the Virginia Pesticide Control Board have recognized Virginia Cooperative Extension agents throughout Virginia for their outstanding participation in the pesticide container recycling program and the pesticide safety education courses. The following agents were recognized for their outstanding performance during 2007-08:
VIRGINIA PESTICIDE CONTROL BOARD RECOGNIZES EXTENSION AGENTS FOR OUTSTANDING SERVICE
Photo (from left): Steve Hopkins, Orange Count; Brad Jarvis, Madison County; Melanie Barrow, Henry County/Martinsville; Amber Vallotton, Rockingham County; Mike Andruczyk, Chesapeake; Susan French, Virginia Beach; Lynnette Swanson, Norfolk; Cyndi Wyskiewicz, Portsmouth; Andres Alvarez, VDACS; and Carl Stafford, Culpeper County.
Pesticide Disposal Program
- On October 8, 2008, the
Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) and
the Virginia Pesticide Control Board recognized Melanie Barrow,
Extension Agent, Henry County, for her outstanding participation in the
2007 Pesticide Disposal Program sponsored by VDACS. The award cites her
overall success in meeting the significant challenges of proper
pesticide disposal and thereby helping to eliminate a potential threat
to human health and the environment.
The 2007 Pesticide Disposal Program was held in 29 localities in south-central Virginia. Eight centrally located collection sites were selected and collections were conducted over a two week period. A total of 76,249 pounds of outdated and unwanted pesticides that had been stored by agricultural producers, licensed pest control firms, licensed pesticide dealers, golf courses and homeowners were collected at no cost to the participants.
The success of the pesticide disposal program is attributed to the cooperative efforts of a number of organizations, including Virginia Cooperative Extension which provides local program coordination. Local coordination includes site selections; notifying agricultural producers and homeowners of the availability of the pesticide disposal program, including location and the date of collection; and educating agricultural producers and homeowners on proper storage and disposal of unwanted pesticides. In addition to the above responsibilities which ensure the administrative success of a program, there is an equally important, more personal side to ensuring success. The requirements for success here include the one-on-one interactions between cooperators, the contractor and the general public, and the Board selected Barrow because of her outstanding performance in the administrative area as well as her personal interactions.
Pesticide Container Recycling Program
On October 8, 2008, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) and the Virginia Pesticide Control Board recognized Rockingham County officials for their outstanding participation in the pesticide container recycling program during 2007. Amber Vallotton, Extension Agent, and Linda Zirkle, Recycling Coordinator, Department of Public Works, Rockingham County, received the award for their cooperative efforts to raise public awareness and to provide an opportunity for local farmers to dispose of used plastic pesticide containers in a manner that does not threaten the environment and that promotes resource conservation.
To encourage countywide participation, Vallotton and Zirkle mailed 1,700 color brochures to potential participants. The brochure announced the availability of the program, touted its benefits, and gave instructions for participation and the proper method for triple rinsing. Containers were collected by appointment only and inspected by one of nine trained container inspectors. This county also provided on-site assistance during the granulation process.
In addition to the collection and granulation of containers, Rockingham County served as a test site for an existing technology that could lend itself to the plastic pesticide container recycling program. Working with the Ag Container Recycling Council, Rockingham hosted a baler that is normally used to bale tires. The test offered the opportunity for the Council to see the benefits and limitations of baling containers ranging from 1 gallon to 55 gallon drums and its applicability in the future. The baling demonstration yielded both qualitative and quantitative data.
Pesticide Safety Education
- First Place: In recognition of an outstanding Worker Protection
Standard training program, the 1st Place award was presented to a team
consisting of Extension agents Brad Jarvis, Madison County; Steve
Hopkins, Orange County; and Carl Stafford, Culpeper County; along with
Marlene Larios from the Telamon Corporation for a program entitled
“Worker Protection Standard Training for Agricultural Workers and
Worker Protection Standard (WPS) training provides farm workers with information that will ensure their health and safety while they use pesticides or work in pesticide-treated fields. Often this training occurs during short training sessions on the farm. One of the requirements of the WPS training program is that it be presented in a language that the workers can understand. In 2007, three Extension agents partnered with a non-profit agency to develop a WPS program for Spanish-speaking farm workers which combined classroom training in the morning with an educational tour of one of the local greenhouses during the afternoon. The program involved 29 employees from 6 separate agricultural establishments. During the morning, presenters provided bilingual instruction in pesticide safety and posting requirements, toxicity and exposure, signs and symptoms of exposure and emergency aid and care. Small group discussions reviewed and discussed a pesticide label’s Personal Protective Equipment requirements. A demonstration using apples and fluorescent powder showed how workers and their families can be exposed to pesticides even when they can’t see them. After a barbecue lunch, the class was given a tour of a local greenhouse where workstations and demonstrations conducted by the greenhouse staff reinforced what workers had learned during the morning session and showed other aspects of the Worker Protection Standard. All the participants rated the program very good to excellent and pre- and post-testing on pesticide safety and handling showed 100% test score improvement.
- Second Place: In recognition of their
innovative efforts to help commercial and municipal applicators become
more knowledgeable about pesticide safety and use, the 2nd Place award
was given to five Extension agents and specialists for their program
“Hampton Roads Commercial Pesticide Applicator Recertification Series,”
a two-part program that took place in June and December 2007. The team
consisted of Susan French, Virginia Beach; Cyndi Wyskiewicz,
Portsmouth; Lynnette Swanson, Norfolk; Mike Andruczyk, Chesapeake; and
Laurie Fox, Hampton Roads Agricultural Research and Extension Center.
Every year Extension agents are challenged with creating day-long
commercial recertification programs which meet specific parameters yet
are fresh and interesting. Part of that challenge is to take old topics
and blend them with new to create a program that holds the attention of
the audience. A group of four extension agents and a horticultural
associate developed new training materials, recycled and updated an old
presentation to include additional demonstrations, and used an
interactive game to help the audience retain the information presented.
A pesticide quiz using rotating stations allowed attendees to move
around, while a Jeopardy game encouraged interaction while covering
topics like water quality and applicator safety. Presenters used
multiple techniques throughout the day to ensure group interaction.
Four programs were conducted which served 342 commercial and municipal
pesticide applicators. Written evaluations showed that over 80 percent
rated the hands-on activities as the most helpful part of the class,
while the speakers rated a high 5 of 5.
- Third Place: The 3rd Place award recognized Rex Cotton, Suffolk, for the high quality of training developed and provided to producers in the City of Suffolk area. Rex’s program, The City of Suffolk Private Applicator Meeting, took place on December 7, 2007. Recertification classes for private pesticide applicators are a key aspect of Virginia’s pesticide safety program and a significant responsibility for local Extension agents. Cotton prepared and conducted a recertification class for private applicators in his area which pulled experts from across the Commonwealth to deliver high quality presentations full of many valuable take-home messages. The diverse topics ranged from protecting pollinators from pesticides to “Best Management Practices and IPM (Integrated Pest Management) for Watermelon and Sweet Potato Production.” The program promoted compliance with all requirements for drift minimization, proper use of personal protective equipment, recordkeeping, and worker protection.
Mr. Andres Alvarez, Director, Division of Consumer Protection, VDACS, presented each agent with a commemorative plaque and a gift basket of Virginia's Finest products on behalf of the Virginia Pesticide Control Board.
This was the tenth year for the recognition program. Extension agents or district directors, Virginia Tech Pesticide Program personnel, or Office of Pesticide Services investigators interested in nominating someone for a 2008-09 award should contact the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Office of Pesticide Services at 804/371-6558.
Source: VDACS Press Release (http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov).