Certified Fertilizer Applicator (CFA) Training
2 VAC 5-405, Regulations for the Application of Fertilizer to Nonagricultural Lands require training for all licensees and contractor-applicators, state agencies, localities, or other governmental entities engaged in the commercial application of fertilizers to nonagricultural lands.
Anyone desiring certification as a Certified Fertilizer Applicator (CFA) must successfully complete approved training and submit an online application to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS). The application must include proof of satisfactory completion of the approved training.
Click here for the current list of Certified Fertilizer Applicators
Approved courses of training
Currently, the approved courses of CFA training include:
- Virginia Cooperative Extension (Virginia Tech) Fertilizer Applicator Certification Training. This course was developed jointly by Virginia Tech, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. The training can be completed online and at no cost to participants. Please visit the Program’s website for additional information.
Other approved courses of training are offered by different entities. Please contact those entities directly for additional information.
- The Virginia Turfgrass Council. Please visit the Council’s website or call 757.464.1004.
- Washington County Extension Office. Please visit the Office’s website or call 276.676.6309.
Individuals who have previously completed training that meets the general knowledge requirements for certified fertilizer applicators, may petition VDACS to recognize their training.
The 2008 Virginia General Assembly approved legislation that required the Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services, in consultation with a technical advisory committee of stakeholders, to adopt regulations prescribing training and application requirements for individuals who apply fertilizer on nonagricultural lands.
Members of the technical advisory committee who assisted in the drafting of regulations included representatives from the organizations indicated below. Staff from the Department of Conservation and Recreation served in an advisory capacity.
- Virginia Agribusiness Council
- Virginia Farm Bureau Federation
- Virginia Cooperative Extension
- Virginia Crop Production Association
- Virginia Golf Course Superintendents Association
- Virginia Green Industry Council
- Virginia Nursery & Landscape Association
- Virginia Turfgrass Council
The resulting regulations, 2 VAC 5-405, Regulations for the Application of Fertilizer to Nonagricultural Lands, were promulgated in 2011 but subsequent amendments to the fertilizer statute by the General Assembly necessitated further changes to the regulations. The amendments clarified that the regulations also apply to government employees, and prescribed certain reporting requirements for any person subject to the regulations.
The final amended regulations were published in The Virginia Register of Regulations on January 2, 2012 and became effective on February 1, 2012. Any person subject to regulations must be in compliance within 12 months of the effective date, or by February 1, 2013.
The regulations require that all licensees and contractor-applicators engaged in the commercial application of fertilizers to nonagricultural lands, and all state agencies, localities, or other governmental entities that apply fertilizer to nonagricultural lands shall:
- Employ or retain the services of a certified fertilizer applicator (CFA).
- Apply fertilizer at rates, times, and methods that are consistent with standards and criteria for nutrient management promulgated pursuant to § 10.1-104.2 of the Code of Virginia.
- Ensure that fertilizer applications are conducted as prescribed by board-approved training or individual applicator training.
- Comply with all applicable recordkeeping and reporting requirements in this regulation.
- Comply with all applicable recordkeeping and reporting requirements (See Reporting Requirements Section below) in this regulation.
Anyone desiring certification as a CFA must successfully complete approved training and submit an online application to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS). The application must include proof of satisfactory completion of the approved training.
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To submit your online application click here.
The CFA certification is valid for four years from the date of issuance. Certified fertilizer applicators shall complete a minimum of two hours of course work every two years.
Individual applicator training for Trained Applicators can be conducted by a CFA.
In addition, individual applicator training is currently being developed by Virginia Tech and is expected to be available soon. We will provide a link to this training once it is available.
All licensees and contractor-applicators engaged in the commercial application of fertilizers to lawn and turf that require management and periodic mowing, and all state agencies, localities, or other governmental entities that apply fertilizer to lawn and turf that require management and periodic mowing shall maintain training records for the Trained Applicators they employ.
The following individuals are exempt from certification under this regulation:
- Individuals conducting research in laboratories or field test plots involving fertilizers.
- Individuals who use fertilizer or supervise the use of fertilizer as part of their duties only on nonagricultural land owned or leased by their employers. This exemption does not apply to public sector applicators.
- Individuals holding turf and landscape certification from the Department of Conservation and Recreation as nutrient management planners.
The Virginia Fertilizer Law requires contractor-applicators, state agencies, localities and other governmental entities to report to VDACS the annual acreage or square footage of fertilizer applied to nonagricultural (lawn and turf) lands.
To submit your lawn and turf fertilizer applications report, click here.
If you have any questions regarding this program, please contact VDACS Agricultural Commodities Program at 804.786.3514.