Effective December 1, the Pest Management and the Environment (PME) program at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will be known as Pesticide Safety Education Program or PSEP. The name change better describes the programs offered, audiences served and reflects the program's emphasis on providing educational information throughout Iowa on the safe and effective use of pesticides.
ISU Extension program specialists Betsy Buffington and Kristine Schaefer provide the following information and explanation.
PSEP is responsible for providing pesticide safety education to various audiences in Iowa, including certified commercial, public and private applicators as well as pesticide safety awareness for the general public. In addition to applicator certification, PSEP staff are involved in other areas of pesticide education including integrated pest management, worker protection, environmental quality and agricultural health. To keep current on pesticide issues, PSEP staff are active on national boards, including the American Association of Pesticide Safety Educators (AAPSE), Certification and Training Assessment Group (CTAG), and The Pesticide Stewardship Alliance (TPSA).
Pesticide Safety Education Program celebrates 50 years of helping
The name change comes as the national Land-Grant University Pesticide Safety Education Program reaches a 50-year milestone. In a recent press release, the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA), American Phytopathological Society (APS), and the Entomology Society of America (ESA) stated: "Everyone benefits from a strong national Pesticide Safety Education Program – the general public, the registrants whose products' availability depends on safe use, the applicators who must be competent in the safe use of pesticides, the expanded network of trainers educated by PSEP and the regulatory agencies that enforce the law."
The statement adds, "The recognition this program deserves is often muted, due to the increasing number of organizations and initiatives that erroneously equate pesticide safety education with promoting pesticide use. On its 50th anniversary, the WSSA, APS and ESA salute the Pesticide Safety Education Program in the Land-Grant Universities and in the territories for its many efforts to protect human health and the environment, as society continues its ongoing battle against pests."
The Iowa State University Pesticide Safety Education Program (PSEP) offers a variety of pesticide applicator certification programs.
During 2013, PSEP and other Iowa State University Extension and Outreach staff provided Continuing Instructional Course or CIC training to nearly 26,000 certified applicators who control weeds, insects, disease-causing organisms, rodents and other pests in agricultural cropping systems, forests, structures, turf, ornamentals, rights-of-way, aquatic areas and other important sites. In addition to in-person and distance pesticide safety education training, over 22,000 PSEP Extension publications were distributed in the past year.