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OSU Extension

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Agricultural fertilizer applicator certification is required in Ohio for farmers who apply fertilizer to more than 50 acres of agricultural production grown primarily for sale. This requirement was signed into law in June 2014, and also requires certification for commercial agricultural fertilizer applicators. Farmers who have their fertilizer applied by co-ops or custom applicators are not required to be certified.

Applicators who are a Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) or Certified Livestock Manager (CLM) are not required to attend the training. Fertilizer is defined for the regulation as any substance containing nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, or other plant nutrient in a dry or liquid formulation. All application types such as broadcast, side dress, sub-surface, knifing and other are included in the certification requirement. Lime and limestone are not included as fertilizer for the certification and farmers who only use starter fertilizer in their planter boxes are exempted.

The agriculture fertilizer certification is not required for manure applications, unless farmers are applying livestock or poultry manure from a Concentrated Animal Feeding Facility (CAFF). In this case, they would need to have either the CLM or Ohio Fertilizer Certification.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture is the agency issuing the certification for agriculture fertilizer applications. Once an applicator completes the fertilizer training, the ODA will bill them $30 for their fertilizer certificate unless the applicator currently holds a pesticide applicator license.

The ODA website has information regarding the regulation at  For more information about training sessions or general materials for the agriculture fertilizer certification, visit or contact Dean Kreager, Licking County OSU Extension at

Upcoming Pesticide & Fertilizer Certification/Re-certification Classes


Location:  OSU Extension Office 
                 771 E. Main Street 
                 Newark, OH 43055



Do I need agricultural fertilizer certification?

Certification is required if you apply fertilizer (other than manure) to more than 50 acres of agricultural production grown primarily for sale. If you hire a co-op or other custom applicator for fertilizer applications, you do not need the certification. Additionally, you must have fertilizer certification OR Ohio Livestock Manager Certification (CLM) to apply manure from any Concentrated Animal Feeding Facility (CAFF).

Do I need the certification if I raise forage for my livestock?

The term “agricultural production” is defined as the cultivation, primarily for sale, of plants or any parts of plants on more than 50 acres. If you raise forage (e.g., hay, silage, corn) for use on your farm, and have questions about fertilizer certification, please contact the Ohio Department of Agriculture at 614-728- 6987 or email:

How do I become certified for agriculture fertilizer applications?

To become certified for agricultural fertilizer applications, you must take and pass a test with the Ohio Department of Agriculture -or- attend a 3-hour fertilizer certification training class offered by OSU Extension.

  • OSU Extension will submit the signed fertilizer certification form(s) to the Ohio Department of Agriculture upon completion of the class.

Do I need to renew my fertilizer applicator certification?

Fertilizer Applicator Certifications are renewed every three years. To recertify, attend a 1-hour training offered by OSU Extension.

Private Applicator Resources

Pesticide Safety Training for "New" Commercial Applicators

Click here for more information.

Fertilizer Application Record Keeping App

The Ohio Nutrient Management Record Keeper (OnMRK) is a computerized recordkeeping system that sync’s with your smartphone or tablet to create a simple, easy and quick way to record all of your fertilizer and manure applications while you're still in the field. The app can be downloaded from the Google Play store for Android devices and iTunes for the Apple products.

Click here for more information or to download the app.

Ohio Sensitive Crop Registry

The Ohio Sensitive Crop Registry is for growers and pesticide applicators to communicate about sensitive crops and apiaries. To participate in this registry, sign up for a user account with the Ohio Department of Agriculture a