“Applicators can still complete training in person, watch a video at a county Extension office or take a test at a Iowa Department of Natural Resources field office, and mail a check to pay their certification fees, just as they always have,” said Gene Tinker, DNR animal feeding operations coordinator. “But, we’ve added the convenience of training at home or in the office.
“That gives them many options, allowing applicators to take training, pay fees or print their certificates via an online system, or use any combination of traditional and online services,” Tinker added.
Online training is available to anyone interested in manure application, but is specifically designed to help manure applicators meet state requirements to become certified.
Applicators can take training with any device that has Internet access, but may find a personal computer provides the best performance. If using a public access computer, check with the provider – coffee shop, library or motel – to see how secure the connection is, especially when sharing information about bank accounts.
Online training modules cover topics like biosecurity for human and animal safety, and managing nutrients to improve water quality. Each module is followed by a short activity. Online is similar to in-person or video training, however it’s self-paced and applicators may complete one topic at a time or all topics in one sitting. Online training also is limited to one applicator per computer.
A major advantage of the online option is the convenience of paying fees online. “We think that’s a great benefit for those who spend the winter out of state or applicators from neighboring states who apply manure in Iowa,” Tinker added.
You can access online training information at www.iowadnr.gov/manureapplicator. This also is where applicators and business managers can check their own records for renewals, expiration dates and fees.
Traditional training options include two-hour workshops for confinement site applicators with agricultural and bio-systems engineering specialists, livestock specialists and field agronomists with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Commercial applicators are offered three-hour training via statewide showing in early January. Videotaped sessions also are available by appointment throughout the year. Check the Manure Applicator section of the Iowa Manure Management Action Group’s website at www.agronext.iastate.edu/immag/ for a list of training dates.
ISU Extension and Outreach, in cooperation with the DNR, developed the online training. The Iowa Legislature provided funding for the project.