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Commercial Applicator FAQs | South Dakota Department of Agriculture

Commercial Applicator FAQs

Commercial ApplicatorWho Must Have a Commercial Applicator License?

Generally speaking if you apply pesticides for hire or are a government employee that applies pesticides while performing your work duties you must have a Commercial Applicator License. You are considered a Commercial Applicator if:

  • You apply pesticides to the property of another person for hire. Agricultural producers that apply pesticides for another person in return for trading of services are exempt but are required to have a Private Applicator Certification.
  • You advertise as being in the business of applying pesticides for compensation.
  • You are a government employee that applies pesticides while performing his/her duties. A government employee may not apply pesticides as a Commercial Applicator unless it is while he/she is performing his/her work duties.

If you have a valid Commercial Applicator License and apply pesticides to your own property you must have a Private Applicator Certification.

How Do I Obtain a Commercial Applicator License?

Anyone that wishes to obtain a Commercial Applicator License must:

  • Successfully pass a written examination provided by the Department of Agriculture. The applicant must score at least 70% on the examination.
  • Complete a Commercial Applicators License application and submit it to the Department of Agriculture once the applicant has successfully passed the examination.

What are the Limitations of a Commercial Applicator License?

Commercial Applicator License’s and category certification is valid for 2 years. License and category certification renewal is required biannually. A fee of $25 is required at the time of renewal. However, government employees are exempt from the fee.

In order to apply pesticides as a commercial applicator you must be certified in the particular category that applies to the purpose of your application. Categories of Commercial Applicator certification are:

  • Agricultural Plant Pest Control
    • Required to apply pesticides to any agricultural crop.
  • Agricultural Animal Pest Control
    • Required to apply pesticides to livestock of any species
  • Forest Pest Control
    • Required to apply pesticides to forests, forest nurseries, or forest seed-producing areas.
  • Ornamental and Turf Pest Control
    • Required to apply pesticides to ornamental trees, shrubs, flowers, and turf.
  • Seed Treatment
    • Required to apply pesticidal seed treatments
  • Aquatic Pest Control
    • Required to apply pesticides to standing or running water for the purpose of controlling pests.
  • Right-of-Way Pest Control
    • Required to apply pesticides to public right-of ways.
  • Industrial, Institutional, and Health Related Pest Control
    • Required to apply pesticides on, in, or around food handling establishments, human dwellings, institutions such as schools, hospitals, and industrial facilities such as grain elevators, warehouses, and others.
  • Public Health Pest Control
    • Required to apply pesticides for the purpose of controlling pests having medical and public health importance.
  • Regulatory Pest Control
    • Required to apply pesticides for the control of regulated pests (other than noxious weeds) under state or federal quarantine.
  • Demonstration and Research Pest Control
    • Required for persons who demonstrate to the public proper use and methods of application of pesticides.
  • Rodent and Bird Pest Control
    • Required to apply pesticides for the purpose of controlling rodent and bird pests.
  • Predator Pest Control
    • Required to apply pesticides for the purpose of controlling predators.
  • Grain Fumigation Pest Control
    • Required to use pesticide fumigants to control pests in grain either stored or in transit.
  • Wood Preservative Pest Control
    • Required to apply pesticides to control pests that damage or destroy wood.
  • Livestock Protection Collar
    • Required to apply protection collars to livestock for the purpose of controlling coyote predation.

Sub-classifications are those that apply to the method that a pesticide is applied, aerially or ground.

  • Anyone that holds a Class A Pilot’s Permit is sub-classified as a Class A aerial applicator.
  • Anyone that holds a Class B Pilot’s Permit is sub-classified as a Class B aerial applicator.
  • Anyone that does not qualify as an aerial applicator is restricted to ground applications

Applying pesticides to your own property is defined as a private applicator. Therefore, you must obtain a Private Applicator Certification from the Department of Agriculture.

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