New State Fertilizer Application Laws May Require Better Training/Licensing of Employees

Recent legislation in New Jersey and New York, as well as pending legislation in Maryland and Pennsylvania, is highlighting the need to develop better training for fertilizer applicators or best management practices for all applications. Homeowners are being included in the laws to regulate applications, but not in the mandatory training. Florida has had training for several years now because Florida Senate Bill 494 requires all commercial fertilizer applicators to have a license from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) by January 1, 2014.

Effective training of your employees can only result in creating a positive impression of your company and the industry for state and federal legislators and regulators. Let’s face it; the service you and your employees provide is most visible in the communities where it is performed. As Green Industry trainer and author Bill Hoopes put it, “Our work in the Green Industry is, and always has been, tied to people. And, while we are technically very good at what we do, we need to make sure the message our people send is as effective as the work they do!” If the service provided is poor, it not only reflects negatively on your company, but also on the industry as a whole. Training and follow up on the job can make that the difference. This applies to worker safety issues, environment pollution and customer relations.

Although there is no lack of good information to use in training, the thoroughness of the training, its timing for new employees (who may come on in the middle of the season), proficiency of the trainer, the training program itself, and verification that the training resulted in the right behavior on the job, are all important elements of effective training. When we are not worrying about bad things happening because of poorly or inadequately trained employees, we can use the positive image and relationships to help get out our message about the benefits of the industry and the value of the work we do.

In a positive world, our letters and personal visits to legislators and regulators will be more beneficial. So, owners, managers, and trained employees need to get involved in PLANET’s government affairs activities, engage lawmakers and regulators, and take control of the image and the future of their companies.

PLANET’s Legislative Action Center makes getting involved easy. Learn about the issues, find your elected officials, and communicate your concerns.

Article provided by the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET).

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