Six Private Pesticide Applicator Certification workshops have been scheduled for Fillmore, Houston and Winona counties. If you are one of the 138 in Fillmore County, 132 in Houston County or 97 pesticide applicators in Winona County due for recertification, you should have received a reminder postcard from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) in mid-December.

You need to renew your Private Pesticide Applicator Certification if you apply pesticides to land or sites you own, rent or lease for the production of agriculture commodities.

This applies if you plan to use restricted use pesticides, reside in the state of Minnesota and your certification expires in 2013.

You have three options to renew your certification. 1) Attend a recertification workshop instead of re-testing. 2) Complete the test as a home study course - books and tests have arrived at your county's Extension office. 3) Or, complete the test online at www.pat.umn.edu.

Recertification must be completed by March 1 for this crop season.

If you are not currently certified, you cannot become certified by attending a recertification workshop. In that case, to become certified, applicants must take the 2013 test online or take the 2013 mail-in test available from their local County Extension Office.

If you choose to attend the 3.5 hour recertification workshop to renew the private applicator certification in lieu of taking a test, the MDA requires applicators to attend the entire 3.5 hour workshop to receive credit.

Applicators who arrive more than 15 minutes late to a workshop will not be allowed to receive recertification credit.

The cost to recertify by attending a workshop or testing is $50 for three years. Checks only (no cash, please) should be made payable to the U of MN. Registration for workshops will be taken at the door; no pre-registration is required.

When attending a recertification workshop, you must bring an official photo identification card (driver's license, passport or some type of official document). Bringing your Private Pesticide Applicator Certification ID card will also assist in the registration process.

Persons who don't have their applicator card, may obtain their applicator number online at the MDA website (www.mda.state.mn.us) or by contacting the MDA at (651) 201-6633.

Workshop recertification location and times are as follows:

Tuesday, Jan. 29, at 12:30 p.m. in Preston at the Fillmore County Off. Bldg., 902 Houston St. NW;

Tuesday, Feb. 5, at 12:30 p.m. in Caledonia at the Good Times Restaurant, 118 Bissen St.;

Thursday, Feb. 14, at 12:30 p.m. in St. Charles at the Community Center, 830 Whitewater Ave.;

Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 12:30 p.m. in Wilson at the Town/Fire Hall, 29660 County Rd. 12;

Tuesday, Feb. 26, at 6:30 p.m. in Preston at the Fillmore County Off. Bldg., 902 Houston St. NW; and

Wednesday, Feb. 27, at 12:30 p.m. in Caledonia at the Houston County Justice Center, 306 S. Marshall St.

For those choosing to take the test, there is a new manual - the 19th edition of the Private Pesticide Applicator Training manual.

All 18th edition books can be recycled. They will no longer be valid to use with exams. The new manual will retail at $10 per copy.

A PDF version of the manual will be posted online and available with the online exam. The link to the Private Certification page where individuals can access the online exam and other program resources is www.extension.umn.edu/pesticides/private.html.

If you are wondering if a workshop is still being held due to weather, you can check the Farm Information Line toll-free at 1-800-232-9077. Otherwise, you can call the Fillmore County Extension Office (507) 765-3896, the Houston County Extension Office at (507) 725-5807, the Winona County Extension Office at (507) 457-6440, or listen to KFIL radio, 103.1 FM.