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Around the County

Farm storage of bulk liquid/dry fertilizer

May 1, 2009
From Wayne Schoper — Brown/Nicollet Extension Educator

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) reminds ag chemical dealers, farmers and other ag commodity producers that safe on-farm storage of bulk liquid and dry fertilizer requires protective safeguards and may require a permit from MDA. Greg Harding is an inspection and permitting consultant with MDA. He has the following comments regarding the safe farm storage of fertilizer.

Bulk Liquid Fertilizer:

The 2007 legislature amended the Minnesota Fertilizer Law to read: A permit and safeguard is not required for agricultural commodity producers who, on their own property, for their own use, no more then 6,000 gallons of liquid commercial fertilizer. Farmers storing more than 6,000 gallons of bulk liquid fertilizer must have secondary containment installed and permitted by the MDA. Permitted secondary containment for fertilizer storage tanks are typically constructed out of concrete, or metal, or utilize a synthetic liner.

Article Photos

Bulk Dry Fertilizer:

Farmers storing any quantity of dry fertilizer must obtain a permit from the MDA prior to storage. Permitted dry fertilizer storage typically consists of a roofed building with adequate wall support and a well-maintained concrete floor. Outdoor dry fertilizer storage on bare ground or without covering from the elements is not allowed.

Farmers must submit a bulk fertilizer storage permit application with a $100 application fee to MDA to obtain a bulk fertilizer storage permit. The application and the fee must be submitted for review and approval prior to any storage or any construction.

Farmers who store bulk liquid or dry fertilizer are encouraged to not store bulk fertilizers adjacent to wells, surface waters, tile inlets or anything that might be easily contaminated following a spill or release. Storage of bulk or dry fertilizer without the required safeguards and proper permit may result in enforcement response by the MDA.

MDA reminds retailers and distributors of their potential liability when delivery's of bulk fertilizers are made to farm sites not properly safeguarded or permitted by the MDA.

Pesticide Applicator

Permits

Another question that comes across my desk from time to time regards the type of license that a farmer needs to apply pesticides to his or her farm or to the neighbor's farm. In order to purchase and apply Restricted Use Pesticides (RUP) on your farm you must have a Private Pesticide Applicator permit.

This permit is available through your local extension office. There is a $50 fee and the permit is good for three years. To purchase RUPs, a valid license or private applicator certification must be presented to a pesticide dealer when purchasing a RUP. Dealers are required to keep records of such sales. As a holder of this permit, you have reciprocity to purchase RUP chemicals in other states. This allows persons credentialed in his or her state of residence to obtain a credential in another state when the examination process is determined by MDA to be "equivalent". The MDA has many reciprocal agreements. Such agreements make the credentialing and licensing process easier for persons who routinely or occasionally work in more than one state. If you are applying pesticides for your neighbor, you must obtain a Commercial Applicator License. As a licensed commercial applicator, you must maintain a record of each pesticide application and provide the customer a completed copy of the record. Noncommercial Pesticide Applicators are required to maintain a record of a Restricted Use Pesticide application as soon as possible after the application and these records must be kept for 5 years. For the convenience of both Commercial and Noncommercial Pesticide Applicators, the MDA offers sample pesticide application records for different categories of pesticide application on its website at:

http//www.mda.state.mn.us/licensing/pestfert/pesticideapplicator.htm.

 
 

 

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