License as Commercial Pesticide Applicators |

License as Commercial Pesticide Applicators

If farmers are considering custom farming as a way to increase profits or wanting to expand the type of services they provide as a custom farmer, they may need to become licensed with the Colorado Department of Agriculture. Licensing as a commercial pesticide applicator is required if the application of pesticides will be included in any custom farming contracts.

“Each year we receive numerous calls from custom farmers who didn’t realize they needed to be licensed with the state,” said Matt Lopez, pesticide enforcement specialist for the Colorado Department of Agriculture Pesticide Section. “Anytime herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and rodenticides are applied for hire, the applicator must be licensed as a commercial pesticide applicator.”

Each year, more people take advantage of custom farming agreements in Colorado. For example, a custom operator would agree to perform all machine operations necessary to grow and harvest a crop for a set fee while the landowner would pay for all seed, chemicals, and other inputs and then keep the crop.

However, commercial pesticide licensing requirements do not apply to a grower that rents or leases land from another landowner. Pesticide applications applied by the lessee would be considered the same as a grower applying pesticides to their own land.

Licensing helps to ensure that pesticides are applied in a manner that reduces unnecessary associated hazards. A person or company that performs applications for hire without holding the appropriate license may receive a fine of up to $1,000 per violation.

For more information on pesticide application and licensing, please contact the Colorado Department of Agriculture Pesticide Section at (303) 239-4151or visit

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