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MDARD to offer private pesticide applicators an alternate option to take certification exams

For Immediate Release: April 3, 2020
Program Contact: Brian Verhougstraete, 517-582-4573
Media Contact: Jennifer Holton, 517-284-5724

In accordance with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ recommendations designed to slow the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has cancelled pesticide applicator certification exams. Under Executive Order 2020-11, the typical classroom-style exams are prohibited.

To help ensure Michigan’s private pesticide applicators (farmers applying restricted use pesticides on their own land or crops) are in compliance with the law, MDARD is offering renewing and new private applicators the ability to receive Michigan private applicator certification via oral interview by phone. Please be advised that the department is not able to offer this option for commercial applicators at this time.

Per the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, Act 451 of 1994, Part 83, Pesticide Control, Section 8311(3)(c), certification for private agricultural applicators (e.g., farmers applying on their own fields) can be accomplished via an oral fact-finding interview administered by an authorized representative of the department. 

The interview will consist of multiple choice and/or true and false questions based on content from the National Pesticide Applicator Certification Core Manual. Questions will be read by an MDARD representative, applicants must respond orally and obtain at least a 70 percent score to pass. This opportunity can only be offered for the private applicator Core exam.

To schedule an oral interview, contact Lisa Graves by phone at 517-284-5653, or by email at

MDARD continues to work with the administration and federal government to explore options for both commercial and private applicators to certify and perform essential tasks for agricultural production to meet the food and feed industry needs of the people of Michigan and beyond.


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