A good crowd turned out at the Scottish Rite last week for the 61st Annual West Texas Agriculture Chemicals Institute Conference.
Among the many speakers was Randy Rivera with the Texas Department of Agriculture.
Rivera spoke about laws and regulations when it comes to pesticide and chemical application and his presentation not only gave good information but also helped out local pesticide applicators.
"Our pesticide applicators are required to obtain continuing education to meet their recertification requirements for their pesticide applicators license," Rivera said. "So through programs offered like this one here today we have the opportunity to provide them with that required hour of continuing education, in particular this topic is laws and regulations."
Laws and regulations seem to be changing sometimes every month and Rivera told us there have been a lot of changes in the area of pesticide application especially in the last decade.
"I would say the biggest change with regard to pesticide laws nationwide has been the Worker Protection Standard," Rivera said. "The Worker Protection Standard is a requirement by EPA rule that requires pesticide users to provide certain protections to their agriculture employees to mitigate risk and exposure to the pesticides that they are applying."
With all the changes to the laws and regulations Rivera told us it is very important that pesticide applicators keep up with what changes have happened or are about to happen to the rules they follow everyday.
And to make sure that the word is getting out that is where the Texas Department of Agriculture and the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Services work together.
"The Texas Agrilife Extension and the Texas Department of Agriculture work cooperatively to make sure that extension is providing the education to our pesticide applicators and anybody else that benefits from the agriculture information that the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension puts out," Rivera said. "The Texas Department of Agriculture's role obviously is to enforce the laws and regulations that exist with regard to pesticide use and so we work cooperatively by meeting several times a year with our extension counterpart, the folks in College Station, to make sure that their educational efforts match the efforts that we're putting with regard to pesticide enforcement."
As Rivera mentioned it is important to bring the word to the pesticide applicators and with West Texas playing such a huge role in agriculture for the state it is even more important to come to areas like this.
"It's absolutely important," Rivera said. "We feel like if its West Texas or any other part of the state that agriculture plays a big role it's the Department of Agriculture's opportunity to get out and give our agriculture producers an opportunity to hear first hand what's changing, what's coming down the pipe from EPA or what's coming down the pipe from our own legislature."
To find out more information about upcoming changes to laws and regulations be sure to visit the Texas Department of Agriculture's website