ASPB is primarily responsible for regulating pesticides and other agricultural chemicals used in Arkansas. The Plant Board has primacy under the federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the authority to regulate the proper labeling, distribution, storage, transportation, use, application and disposal of pesticides within the state of Arkansas. Some of the ASPB programs that directly or indirectly relate to the NPS Management Program, particularly the agricultural statewide program, are listed below.
- Ground Water Protection. In February 1992 the ASPB implemented a Generic PMP. The goal of the Pesticide Management Plan is to prevent the state’s ground water from becoming contaminated by agricultural chemicals and, if contamination is found, to respond appropriately. Additionally, the PMP provides for the protection of public health and welfare, the propagation and protection of terrestrial and aquatic life, the protection of the environment, the operation of existing industries and agriculture and the maintenance and enhancement of long-term economic health of the state. The PMP also recognizes that preserving ground water quality is far less costly and more ecologically sound than restoring ground water back to its natural state.
- Ground Water Monitoring. ASPB monitors ground water wells for non-point source contamination of pesticides.
- Pesticide Registration. Before a pesticide can be sold in Arkansas, it must first be registered with the Plant Board in accordance with the Arkansas Pesticide Control Act and Regulations. This allows the Plant Board to confirm that the product meets all state and federal requirements to provide for both human and environmental protection. Each year ASPB registers approximately 10,000 pesticides for use in the state.
- Dealer Licensing. Dealers that wish to sell or distribute those pesticides designated by the EPA as restricted use pesticides must first obtain a license from the Plant Board to do so in accordance with the Arkansas Pesticide Use Regulations. ASPB processes more than 400 dealer applications annually.
- User and Applicator Training/Certification. Both users and applicators of restricted use pesticides must be trained in the proper handling of such pesticides and then licensed by the Plant Board in accordance with the Arkansas Pesticide Use and Application Act and Regulations. Those applicators that will apply pesticides commercially must also be tested before a license can be issued. Each year ASPB issues approximately 15,000 private applicator licenses, 900 commercial applicator licenses, 2000 non-commercial applicator licenses, 500 commercial firm licenses (ground and air), and 250 custom applicator licenses.
- Enforcement. The division also is responsible for taking enforcement action against those persons and businesses that fail to comply with pesticide laws and regulations. Penalties can range from a warning letter to a monetary assessment of up to $1000 and license revocation.
- Worker Protection. The Pesticide Division is also responsible for enforcement of the worker protection standard in Arkansas as it applies to the use of pesticides.