Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association
Supply · Service · Stewardship

Update on Dicamba Certified Applicator Requirement

We know that our retail members are in limbo regarding the final determination of what steps need to be taken to enable licensed operators to apply dicamba in 2019.  IFCA has asked the registrants of the products as well as the Ag Retailers Association to inquire with USEPA this week as to whether or not an individual who has taken and passed the general standards exam would be considered "certified" to apply dicamba.  
As we wait for an answer, the clock is ticking.  It may very well be that all licensed operators will also have to take the field crops exam in order to be certified to apply dicamba in 2019.  IFCA is also seeking input from the IL Dept of Ag as to how the licensing program would look in 2019.  If operators do pass the field crops exam, would they then also need to officially obtain a commercial certified applicator license for the higher fee, or just have a notation on their operator license that they passed field crops exam and are thus considered certified to apply dicamba without having to pay the higher license fee connected to a certified commercial applicator's license?  We also realize those taking field crops who already have an operator's license may be thrown off their normal 3-year testing cycle.  There are so many questions!  
IFCA has also talked to the University of Illinois and we are well aware that having only 6 commercial applicator training clinics this fall and winter will not be enough if thousands of licensed operators want to take advantage of the UI training in field crops.  We are confident UI and IDA will work with us to add additional training and testing dates and IFCA will also work to offer additional training venues or materials to help our members in this endeavor.  
We ask for your patience until the end of this week to determine the next steps forward.  Ultimately we have to take the steps we believe necessary to start of process of meeting the label requirements and that may very well be to organize ample opportunities for training and testing in field crops for the licensed operators.  To add an additional unknown, USEPA's "Frequently Asked Questions" website also indicates that anyone who mixes or loads the three dicamba products must be certified--click here.  ARA is helping us determine if that just means the dicamba specific training or if those individuals may also need to be certified applicators!  
Please know that IFCA is doing all we can to get answers, it's just that the answers are not forthcoming.  Illinois is not the only state in this dilemma.  In the meantime, you can prep yourself by reading the labels which we have posted on our homepage at  We've also posted a document that summarizes the Illinois definitions of "certified applicator" and "licensed operator" and in reading how the IL Pesticide Act is structured, you can see for yourself the quandary with the new labels.  We have also made the registrants of the products (Bayer, BASF and Corteva) aware of our serious concerns.  There is also still no word on when and how dicamba-specific training will be delivered this year.  
We are sorry to still have no good answers for you.  But by the start of next week, we pledge to have a path forward since we cannot afford to lose many more days ahead of spring season to get started on meeting this tremendous new regulatory requirement for dicamba application to soybean in Illinois.  Please feel free to call our office with any questions or additional concerns you have, we appreciate your input very much.