Current Articles

Current Articles of Interest


Doing Your Part: Recycle Plastic Ag Pesticide Containers

As the season progresses and crop protection products are applied, the handling and disposal of all those pesticide containers deserve some attention. Recycling these containers diverts thousands of pounds of plastic annually from South Dakota landfills.

The South Dakota Department of Agriculture has released it's collection schedule offering 39 sites around the state for your convenience. Pesticide containers acceptable for recycling must meet the following minimum requirements:

(1) Be triple-rinsed or equivalent;
(2) Consist of high density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic of 2 1/2 gallons capacity or less;
(3) Contain no visible pesticide residue inside or outside of the container; however, if the container held crop oil, a nutritional spray, an adjuvant or surfactant, or a Bacillus thuringensis product as the sole active ingredient, the presence of residue will not disqualify it for acceptance;
(4) Contain no more than 0.5 fluid ounces of clear water; and
(5) When possible, be delivered with labels on the container.

For more information about pesticide container recycling, contact the SD Department of Ag, Agriculture Services at 605/773-4432.

2019 Recycling Schedule by Date

2019 Recycling Schedule by City

Year-Round by Appointment:

  • Vermillion – Contact: Jim at Missouri Valley Recycling Center (605) 677-7076
  • Pierre – Contact: South Dakota Department of Agriculture at (605) 773-4432

Dicamba Cutoff Date Approaching

PIERRE, S.D. - The South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA) reminds applicators that June 30 is the cutoff date for dicamba products.

The SDDA obtained Special Local Needs registration labels, also known as 24(c) labels, from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the following products: Engenia, Fexapan and Xtendimax with VaporGrip Technology. These labels establish a June 30 cutoff for applications of these products in South Dakota for the 2019 growing season. Applicators can use these products until soybeans reach the R1 growth stage, 45 days
after planting or June 30, whichever comes first.

While the weather has had an impact on planting this year, which I know is frustrating for many producers, the fact remains that warmer conditions in July increase the risk of volatility and drift when using dicamba products. The cutoff date is based on data which supports increased risk of drift after July 1, says Secretary of Agriculture Kim Vanneman. I encourage producers to explore the other products available to them once the cutoff date for use of dicamba has passed.

Anyone applying Engenia, Fexapan or Xtendimax with VaporGrip Technology must also abide by the restrictions included in the EPA labels for those products, including recordkeeping requirements. Additionally, applicators applying or purchasing these products will have to complete annual dicamba specific training. Trainings can be found on the SDDA website at


Rules Proposed to Add Palmer Amaranth as Noxious Weed Seed

A public hearing will be held in Department of Environment and Natural Resources Conference Room, 1st floor, Foss Building, 523 E. Capitol, Pierre, South Dakota, on July 1, 2019, at 1:30 p.m. CT, to consider the proposed amendments to rules numbered 12:36:02:01, 12:36:03:01, 12:36:03:02, 12:36:03:03, and 12:36:04:05.

The proposed amendments add Palmer Amaranth as a prohibited noxious weed seed, clarify that no presence of prohibited noxious weed seed is allowable in seed, move quackgrass from the prohibited noxious weed seed list to the restricted noxious weed seed list, and lower the maximum allowable presence of restricted noxious weed seeds. The proposed amendments also update references, scientific names, and testing processes.These changes will help protect South Dakota by limiting problematic weed seeds in seed mixes and update administrative rules to match industry standards and practices.

Persons interested in presenting data, opinions, and arguments for or against the proposed rules may do so by appearing in person at the hearing or by sending them to the South Dakota Department of Agriculture, 523 East Capitol, Foss Building, Pierre, South Dakota 57501. Material sent by mail must reach the South Dakota Department of Agriculture by July 10, 2019, to be considered.

After the hearing, the Department will consider all written and oral comments it receives on the proposed rules. The Department may modify or amend a proposed rule at that time to include or exclude matters that are described in this notice.

A copy of the proposed rules can be found here.


South Dakota Department of Ag's Role in Pesticide Regulation

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA) is the primary enforcement agency for state and federal pesticide laws in cooperation with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The SDDA registers pesticide products, licenses applicators and conducts compliance inspections and investigations.

Pesticides sold in South Dakota must be registered with the SDDA to ensure that they meet the criteria established by state and federal law. If all criteria are met by the manufacturer, the SDDA registers the product for use in South Dakota.

Anyone applying pesticides for agricultural use must be licensed. The SDDA partners with South Dakota State University Extension to train applicators throughout the state. Applicators must renew their license every 2 or 5 years, depending on whether they are a commercial or private applicator.

The SDDA completes routine inspections to ensure compliance of applicators and agricultural retailers across the state. These include use inspections conducted during applications, inspections of storage and handling of pesticides, and record keeping inspections.

Additionally, the SDDA investigates alleged misuse, misapplication or spills of agricultural products, including pesticides and fertilizers. When the SDDA receives timely information of an alleged violation of pesticide laws, an agricultural inspector is assigned by the department to investigate. As part of the investigation, the inspector interviews applicators, witnesses and others relevant to the investigation; gathers weather data and spray records; takes photos and plant samples; and documents other relevant information.

The SDDA reviews the inspector‘s report, sample results and product label. It is important to keep in mind that not every inspection or investigation results in a violation. In many cases, applicators are properly licensed and pesticide applications are made according to product labels. The SDDA takes action any time a violation is found, although the SDDA is not mandated to do so by state law. Actions range from warnings to financial penalties to administrative sanctions. For example, if an applicator is found in violation they could be subject to a Class 2 misdemeanor and fined up to $5,000 per violation by the circuit court, and have their license modified, suspended or revoked by the secretary of agriculture. Any financial penalty collected is deposited in the state general fund, not given to the SDDA or an impacted party.

Finally, damages caused by the off-target application of pesticides cannot be recovered by the SDDA. Damage can occur when there is no violation and violations can occur when damage is not present. Individuals with damage from off-target applications of pesticides can recover their damages through private civil actions between those damaged and those liable for the damage.

It is the SDDA‘s goal as a regulatory entity to assure the proper certification and licensure of pesticide applicators and the safe and effective use of pesticide products. For more information, visit the SDDA‘s website, Source: SDDA


Worker Protection Standard (WPS)

On November 2015 USEPA revised the worker protection standards to implement more protection for agricultural workers and pesticide handlers. Most of the revised WPS standards became effective on January 2018. The WPS requires commercial pesticide handler employers to provide specific information and protections to workers, handlers when WPS-labeled pesticide products are used on agricultural establishments in the production of agricultural plants. 

Who is Included in WPS:

  • mixing, loading or apply agricultural pesticides
  • clean or repair pesticide agricultural equipment
  • assist with the application of pesticides

For more information:

Pesticide WPS Training Requirements

Pesticide handlers need WPS training annually. Exempt from the training requirement are Certified CCA‘s, Commercial Applicator and Operators. A handler is an employee who assists with the mixing, loading, cleaning or repair of agricultural equipment that is not a certified CCA, commercial applicator or operator.

Who can perform the training for pesticide handlers?

  • Someone who holds a current pesticide applicator's license (in any category)
  • Someone who has completed an EPA-approved WPS Train-the-Trainer program.
  • Someone who has been designated as a trainer of certified pesticide applicators or handlers by a state, federal, or tribal agency having jurisdiction.

For more information:

WPS Respiratory Protection Requirements

Under the Worker Protection Standard (WPS), there are new requirements for pesticide handlers when pesticide labels require the use of a respirator.
Before pesticide handlers can use a respirator, they must receive:

  1. A medical evaluation by a physician or other licensed health care professional,
  2. Fit-testing with a taste/smell/irritating indicator, or with quantitative measurements, and
  3. Training about the use, care, and maintenance of the respirator.

For more information:

WPS Training for Pesticide Handlers click on following link:


Pesticide-Production Report Update

The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Section 7 requires that production of pesticides, active ingredients or devices be conducted in a registered pesticide-producing or device-producing establishment. ("Production" includes formulation, packaging, repackaging, labeling and relabeling.) Production in an unregistered establishment is a violation of the law. Information on pesticide establishments is tracked through the Section Seven Tracking System. A list of active EPA-registered foreign and domestic pesticide-producing and device-producing establishments is available. Additional limited information on establishments is available online at

AnchorEPA Announces Changes to Dicamba Registration

On October 31, 2018, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is extending the registration of dicamba for two years for over-the-top use (application to growing plants) to control weeds in fields for cotton and soybean plants genetically engineered to resist dicamba. This action was informed by input from and extensive collaboration between EPA, state regulators, farmers, academic researchers, pesticide manufacturers, and other stakeholders.

EPA understands that dicamba is a valuable pest control tool for America‘s farmers, said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler. By extending the registration for another two years with important new label updates that place additional restrictions on the product, we are providing certainty to all stakeholders for the upcoming growing season.

The following label changes were made to ensure that these products can continue to be used effectively while addressing potential concerns to surrounding crops and plants:

Dicamba registration decisions for 2019-2020 growing season

  • Two-year registration (until December 20, 2020)
  • Only certified applicators may apply dicamba over the top (those working under the supervision of a certified applicator may no longer make applications) 
  • Prohibit over-the-top application of dicamba on soybeans 45 days after planting
  • Soybeans remain at 2 over-the-top applications
  • Applications will be allowed only from 1 hour after sunrise to 2 hours before sunset
  • In counties where endangered species may exist, the downwind buffer will remain at 110 feet and there will be a new 57-foot buffer around the other sides of the field (the 110-foot downwind buffer applies to all applications, not just in counties where endangered species may exist)
  • Clarify training period for 2019 and beyond, ensuring consistency across all three products
  • Enhanced tank clean out instructions for the entire system
  • Enhanced label to improve applicator awareness on the impact of low pH‘s on the potential volatility of dicamba
  • Label clean up and consistency to improve compliance and enforceability

The registration for all dicamba products will automatically expire on December 20, 2020, unless EPA further extends it.
EPA has reviewed substantial amounts of new information and concluded that the continued registration of these dicamba products meets FIFRA‘s registration standards. The Agency has also determined that extending these registrations with the new safety measures will not affect endangered species. Read more from the EPA.


SDDA Fertilizer Fee Increase Notice

The South Dakota Department of Agriculture is notifying all commercial fertilizer distribution license holders who sell or distribute commercial fertilizer and manipulated manure in South Dakota of a fee increase.

Due to the passage of House Bill 1264 during the 2018 legislative session, fees on fertilizer will increase on July 1, 2018 to $.90 per ton for commercial fertilizer, and $.80 per ton for manipulated manure products.

House Bill 1264 authorizes South Dakota State University to build a precision agriculture building on campus and provides funding for that project. One of the funding sources for this project is a $.25 increase to the fertilizer inspection fee.

As of July 1, 2018, the fertilizer inspection fee will be distributed as follows:

  • 15 cents-South Dakota Department of Agriculture fertilizer inspection program
  • 50 cents –Nutrient Research and Education Council
  • 25 cents – Precision Agriculture Fund

For additional information contact the Office of Agronomy Services at 605.773.4432. A copy of House Bill 1264 is available at this link.

Tom Gere, Assistant Director
Division of Agricultural Services


Suspicious Activity and Facility Security; fact sheets and information from The Fertilizer Institute

The safe and secure handling of commercial fertilizers is paramount. In coordination with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), we have compiled key documents and information that may be of interest to the fertilizer industry and agribusinesses.
DHS has made available the following information and fact sheets:

Suspicious activity should always be reported to the FBI to prevent the illicit use of materials. Suspicious activity can be reported by calling 1-855-TELL-FBI (or 1-855-835-5324).

The FBI Chemical Countermeasures Unit is available to work with industry and provided the following information on a series of education programs they administer that may also be of interest. If you would like more information and/or to schedule a meeting with the appropriate personnel at the FBI, you can reach out directly to Justin Louchheim at TFI (202-515-2718) or Lisa Parnpichate at the FBI (202-324-1117).  


South Dakota Launches New Sensitive Crop Registry Providing Online Mapping for Specialty Crops and Honey Bees

The South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA) announced a new partnership with FieldWatch, Inc. to introduce a new sensitive crop registry that will enhance communication between applicators and producers in South Dakota. FieldWatch is a not-for-profit company with existing registries in multiple states across the country. The new partnership will facilitate increased awareness and communication as part of ongoing stewardship activities.

The FieldWatch platform will allow beekeepers and commercial producers of specialty crops (such as tomatoes, fruit trees, grapes and organic crops) to register and map their sites online with an easy-to-use mapping tool and provide contact information about their operation. Pesticide applicators can access the site to help determine the scope and location of specialty crops and beehives in their areas. Registered applicators can sign up to receive email notifications when new specialty crop fields or beehives are added to their designated state, county or areas.

The new registry is free and voluntary to use. Both commercial and hobby beekeepers can use the system, however only managers and owners of specialty crop fields that are used for commercial production and are of at least a half-acre in size will have fields approved by the state data steward. FieldWatch is not intended for homeowners or those with small gardens.

Pesticide applicators will have different options for viewing locations on the new system, including in new mobile apps coming this spring, but all users (applicators, producers, and beekeepers) will need to go to and create an account to get started. For additional resources you can also visit

Worker Protection Standard Update

The Worker Protection Standard (WPS) is a federal EPA regulation that primarily protects workers (people employed to perform work activities related to the production of agricultural plants) and pesticide handlers (people employed to mix, load or apply pesticides). On November 2, 2015, EPA revised the WPS, making significant changes to the rule‘s requirements. To accomplish this, EPA added the new revisions to the end of the existing regulation.

Implementation of the revised rules are staggered over 3 years: 2016, 2017 and 2018. Until 2017, the existing regulations (subparts A, B and C of 40 CFR Part 170) will remain in effect with no changes. Compliance with most of the revised rule requirements (subparts D, E, F and G of 40 CFR Part 170) was effective beginning January 2, 2017. A table that summarizes the key provisions in EPA‘s current WPS regulation and the 2015 revisions can be found online at

Everything you need to know about WPS can be found online at

  • How to Comply Manual
  • WPS Training Materials
  • WPS Handouts