Proper pesticide recordkeeping

It's just as important to keep records for personal use as it is for official use.

  • November 22, 2011

Pesticide recordkeeping is required by Federal regulations for restricted use pesticides and for compliance with the EPA Worker Protection Standard (all pesticides with “Agricultural Use Requirements” printed on the label, not just restricted use pesticides). The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service carries out the provisions of the Federal recordkeeping requirements. Keeping pesticide records is a challenge for some growers. It is just as important to keep records for personal use as it is for official use.
Records help you evaluate how well a chemical worked, particularly if you have used reduced rates or alternative application techniques. Here are some other benefits:
 •To help you figure out how much pesticide you will need in a future year, so that you will not have to store or dispose of extra chemicals.
•To help improve rotation decisions.
•Records may protect you from legal action if you are accused of improper pesticide use.
•Lenders and land developers often require records to evaluate potential environmental liability before lending money or buying land.
•Records provide data to respond to surveys conducted by Federal agencies and universities that can impact future availability of some pesticides through re-registration. They may also be used to respond to the public’s concern regarding pesticide use.
•Records can save money by helping you determine the best pesticide management program.
This Recordkeeping Manual from USDA contains a good checklist (page 9) of information required, forms to use if you are a private pesticide applicator and who has access to the forms. This manual is not intended for use by applicators licensed as commercial pesticide applicators. Remember to use a sharpie, pen or dark pencil to write on the forms, so they are less likely to be destroyed by water, coffee spills, or other accidents. Also be sure to write clearly so that those who inspect your records can easily understand them.
Some growers have created their own forms, some use a notebook and others purchase their forms. You may keep your records using any method you wish as long as they contain the required information. Either handwritten notes, computer-generated records or other recordkeeping systems are acceptable.

Source: Tina Smith, UMass Extension and Leanne Pundt, UConn Extension