The New Jersey Fertilizer Law requires that a certification program for professional fertilizer applicators be established by the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) at Rutgers University in consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Professional fertilizer applicators are required to be trained in the following subject areas:
- the proper use and calibration of fertilizer application equipment;
- the hazards involved in, and the environmental impact of, applying fertilizer, including nutrient pollution to the State’s waterbodies;
- all applicable State and federal laws, rules and regulations;
- the correct interpretation of fertilizer labeling information; and
- the best management practices developed by the NJAES for nutrient management in turf.
The law allows two general classifications for professional fertilizer applicators: certified and trained.
For a professional to be certified, the individual must pass an examination to certify that the individual possesses sufficient knowledge of the laws, rules and regulations, standards and requirements applicable to the use and application of fertilizer. The examination is conducted by the NJAES, once the professional has obtained the established training standards. A $75 fee will be charged to take the certification exam. Upon passing the exam, certification will be valid for 5 years as long as an annual registration ($25 fee) is maintained. A Certified Fertilizer Applicator can re-certify at the end of the 5-year certification cycle by one of two methods:
- If an individual participates in a continuing education (minimum standards to be determined) during the 4-year cycle, re-certification will involve re-registration with the ProFACT program.
- Those individuals that choose not to participate in continuing education during the 5-year cycle may take the training and examination to be re-certified.
For a professional to be trained, the individual must receive training on the laws, rules and regulations, standards and requirements applicable to the use and application of fertilizer by a Trained Applicator. Trained applicators can only apply fertilizer under the direct supervision of a Certified Fertilizer Applicator. Annual training and registration with the ProFACT program will be required for Trained Applicators. Records for Trained Applicators will be deleted from the ProFACT website at the end of each calendar year (31 December).
The NJAES will publish and maintain a list of all certified and trained fertilizer applicators and make the list available on its internet website.
More details on the ProFACT program will follow as these become available. The New Jersey Fertilizer Law allows NJAES to:
- charge reasonable fees, including, but not limited to, an annual re-certification fee, to cover costs associated with the certification and the training program;
- require continuing education or training for certified fertilizer applicators or for trained applicators who apply fertilizer only under the direct supervision of a certified professional fertilizer applicator;
- designate one or more qualified organizations to train, certify, and recertify professional fertilizer applicators and provide that a designated organization may charge fees to cover reasonable costs associated with the certification training and education;
- designate one or more qualified organizations to train professional fertilizer applicators who will apply fertilizer only under the direct supervision of a professional fertilizer applicator certified pursuant to this section and provide that a designated organization may charge fees to cover reasonable costs associated with the training process;
- recognize the training program of any person employing professional fertilizer applicators if it meets the certification and recertification training and education standards established by the program.