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Exemplary Pesticide Programs

Annual pesticide programming excellence awards are sponsored by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. These are presented at the annual pesticide safety educators workshop to teams and individuals who are nominated by their peers for their excellent programs in pesticide safety, disposal and recycling throughout Virginia.

2011 Award Winners

On September 7, 2011, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) and the Virginia Pesticide Control Board recognized 20 Virginia Cooperative Extension agents and specialists for their outstanding participation in the pesticide container recycling program, the pesticide disposal program and pesticide safety education courses. The following agents were recognized for their outstanding performance during 2010 - 2011:



Recently the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) and the Virginia Pesticide Control Board recognized three individuals or teams for their outstanding participation in the 2010 Pesticide Safety Education Program. First Place Award went to the Soil Fumigation Outreach and Education Series Team comprised of agents from the Southside and Tidewater areas. The Second Place Award went to an individual, Robert Jones of Charlotte County, for development of a formal Registered Technician training program for high school students. Third Place went to a team from Lynchburg and Appomattox County for their development of Pesticide Applicator Training and Recertification programs.




The first place award for Pesticide Safety Education recognizes a team of agents who provided timely and critical education and outreach to a grower community that has begun to see dramatic label changes with some pesticide products needed in their production operations. The EPA is requiring important new safety measures to increase protection for agricultural workers and bystanders, as well as people who live, work or otherwise spend time near fields that are fumigated.


The first place award goes to the Soil Fumigation Outreach and Education Series team comprised of Mike Parrish, Dinwiddie Co.; Taylor Clarke, Mecklenburg Co.; Josh Freeman, Eastern Shore Agricultural and Extension Center (AREC); Chuck Johnson, Southern Piedmont AREC; Watson Lawrence, Chesapeake City; Pat Phipps, Tidewater AREC; Bill Shockley, Northampton Co.; Doug Edwards, VDACS; Robert Christian, VDACS; and Gary Young, VDACS.

Many of these new safety measures were released publicly in late 2010 and growers needed quick and comprehensive training in order to comply with the new regulations and safety requirements. The new label language appeared on these product labels on December 31, 2010, giving pesticide applicators little time to learn the new requirements for the 2011 growing season.


The Soil Fumigation team met this challenge successfully with a series of winter meetings targeting farm commodities that use these pesticide products as a part of their production practices. These commodity specific meetings were designed to assist growers so that when the new labels appeared in the marketplace, the users would be ready to comply with these new requirements.


The team’s nominator wrote, “There is no question that this is one of the most incredible work efforts and impacts we have seen over the years in pesticide safety education by Extension agents in Virginia.”



The second place award goes to Extension agent Robert Jones of Charlotte County who recognized the need for a formal training program for prospective Registered Pesticide Technicians in his area, as well as ongoing recertification support for those applicators once they had passed their exams.  

Jones used a variety of teaching methods for the Registered Technician certification training, including PowerPoint presentations, smart boards, YouTube videos and actual pesticide labels. The training, which took place at the local high school, was the first of its kind for these students. For many, this was their first introduction to pesticides and their use. A testing session was scheduled immediately following the completion of the training.


One of the teachers involved in the training class wrote, “The goal for the students in the Agricultural Production IV and Greenhouse Management classes was to take and pass …applicator exams so they could receive verified credit for their agricultural classes... The activity was a success.”    


VDACS Commissioner Lohr noted that Jones received the award, in part, for ensuring that these high school students had access to first class Registered Technician training and the opportunity to sit for the certification exam. “These are the future pesticide applicators of Virginia,” Lohr said, “and this educational course was very timely and got them off to a good start.”



The third place award goes to a team comprised of Kevin Camm, Lynchburg; Bruce Jones, Appomattox County and Richard Jones, VDACS.

Camm took on the challenge of putting two programs together, while being new to a position which had been held previously by a thirty-year plus veteran. Although he was new to the position and had no direct experience organizing any type of pesticide applicator training, he recognized that he had to address the need for continued pesticide applicator recertification training.


Camm decided to organize the recertification training program plus offer a training program to prepare potential new applicators. The nominator wrote, “Instead of simply trying to meet the minimum requirements of these programs Camm decided that he would present something of the quality for which Virginia Cooperative Extension is famous.”


Camm quickly recruited the assistance of Bruce Jones from a neighboring county and Richard Jones from VDACS’ Office of Pesticide Services.  The threesome began by duplicating previous recertification training meetings. However, during the process they determined that if they extended the length of the meeting, they would be able to add another category. This would provide continuing education for industry personnel who otherwise would have to travel across the Commonwealth or to another state for this same opportunity.


Not stopping there, the team organized a pesticide applicator training class for the lawn care and landscape industry when they expressed a need for assistance in preparing for certification as a commercial applicator.  Seventy-seven percent of those who responded rated this meeting as “excellent.”  


According to one local business owner, “…the offer of the class was just the thing to launch another service my business can offer. I thought I would have to travel… to find this type of class, but … I was able to take the class and pass the exams right here.” For their work in the development of pesticide applicator training and recertification to meet a variety of needs, VDACS and the Pesticide Control Board recognize the team from Lynchburg with the third place award for Pesticide Safety Education.


In addition to the Pesticide Safety Education Program, VDACS and the Pesticide Control Board recognized other individuals for their participation in the Container Recycling and the Pesticide Disposal Program.

Article written by:  Elaine J. Lidholm, OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS, P.O. BOX 1163, RICHMOND, VA 23218,, (804) 786-7686

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