Farmers born before 1965 have one year left before they must obtain a certificate of competence to spray crops.
Changes to so-called “Grandfather Rights” – exemptions to pesticide use for anyone born before 31 December 1964 – will no longer apply soon.
From 26 November 2015, anyone applying crop protection products must hold a recognised certificate, such as the PA1 and 2A or 6A.
See also: Get ready for sprayer rule changes
With just one year until the rules change, the voluntary initiative is urging farmers who need to, to act now and obtain a certificate to spray pesticides.
Those currently operating under Grandfather Rights have two alternatives:
- Take the City & Guilds NPTC Level 2 Award in the Safe Use of Pesticides Replacing Grandfather Rights
- To apply professional products as a contractor or to land not owned by them or their employer, operators must take the existing Level 2 Safe Use of Pesticides qualification appropriate to the type of equipment used.
After November 26 2015, professional pesticides should not be purchased unless the operator holds an appropriate certificate. The alternative is to delegate the task to a spray contractor with appropriate training and equipment.
So far, 300 farmers have obtained the new “Grandfather Certificate”. There has been a surge in interest for the Level 2 Award with an extra 2,700 taking the qualification in the last year.
The NFU has been working with City & Guilds to raise awareness and promote the uptake of crop spraying relevant qualifications to meet the needs of the changes.
NFU vice-president Guy Smith said: “This is a bit of training that farmers like myself will have to undertake this winter. Hopefully everyone will have reasonably easy access to training and licensing provision.
“I would also suggest talking to neighbours who have done the training to ask them for advice as well as contacting your nearest agricultural college.”