Farmers planning to chemigate during the 2019 growing season must renew chemigation permits by June 1 to meet state deadline requirements, according to Josh Schnitzler, Water Resources Coordinator for the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD).
Chemigation is the application of any chemical, fertilizer or pesticide through an irrigation system. To legally chemigate in Nebraska, an operator must be certified to apply chemicals and obtain a chemigation permit from their local NRD.
"Farmers holding chemigation permits, even if they are uncertain whether they will chemigate later this year, should consider renewing their permits by June 1," Schnitzler said. Schnitzler is encouraging area producers to reapply by the state-required deadline to avoid the increased cost and possible delays of an inspection.
An irrigation system that has not been renewed prior to the June 1 deadline cannot apply chemicals through the system until a new permit is obtained. Chemigation renewal permits cost $20. New chemigation permits cost $50, and the applicant cannot use the system until it passes a mandatory inspection. All permits must be submitted to the LENRD office at 1508 Square Turn Boulevard in Norfolk.
By renewing a permit by June 1, a producer may proceed with chemigation. An inspection does not have to be performed prior to chemigation for a renewal application, Schnitzler said. However, a random chemigation inspection may be necessary later in the season as part of the LENRD's routine summer inspections as required by state law.
Applicants must have the signature of a certified applicator on their application form. Schnitzler stated, “In order to be certified, a person must complete a chemigation safety course and pass an exam once every four years.”
If chemigating is necessary, on short notice, emergency permits can be obtained at a cost of $250. Irrigation systems meeting chemigation law standards will then be allowed to operate within 72 hours.
Approximately 2,016 chemigation permits were approved by the LENRD in 2018. For more information on renewing or obtaining chemigation permits, call the Lower Elkhorn NRD at 371-7313.