The application for the Pesticide Safety Education Funds Program (PSEFMP) is now available. Applicants are asked to apply using the following link: https://webportalapp.com/sp/login/psefmp. The due date for the application is January 1st, 2024.
In order to be eligible for this funding applicants must be affiliated with a U.S. Land Grant University. Only one application per state or territory will be eligible for funding.
About the PSEFMP Program
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded a cooperative agreement to the Extension Foundation (EXF) to administer a national subaward program supporting Pesticide Safety Education Programs (PSEPs). The new project, titled “Empowered Up: A Comprehensive PSEFMP Promoting Efficiency & Environmental Justice,” will receive up to $15 million over five years. It will build upon a previous PSEP subaward program, also managed by EXF, which concluded in July 2023.
PSEPs, based at land grant universities, provide education and training on the safe and proper use of restricted use pesticides (RUPs)–those that are the most acutely toxic pesticides or that must be applied with special care—to applicators in agricultural, commercial, and residential settings. Federal law restricts RUP use to certified applicators or someone under their direct supervision, because of the harm RUPs can cause to people and the environment without additional safety measures. Applicators must undergo rigorous certification procedures to ensure they can use RUPs safely and effectively. Under this agreement, EXF will provide funds to the PSEPs, which will help prepare applicators for certification and re-certification by teaching them safe and proper application methods, protecting applicators and the public from improper pesticide use.
The new award comes at a critical juncture. In 2017, EPA strengthened certification standards for applicators of RUPs, and required states, tribes, and territories to submit to EPA revised certification plans to meet or exceed the federal standards. All revised plans must be approved by EPA by November 4, 2023 and then implemented. Many will have to update certification materials as a result. PSEPs will play an essential role in revising materials and trainings, conducting outreach to applicators, and playing other key roles in implementing the regulation.
With this new cooperative agreement, EXF also seeks to expand its environmental justice focus. The previous agreement required the publication of materials for pesticide applicators in multiple languages. The new cooperative agreement also requires the promotion of environmental justice elements, namely collaborations between PSEPs and minority-serving institutions, including historically Black colleges and universities, tribal colleges and universities, and Hispanic, Asian American, Native American, Pacific Islander, and predominantly Black serving institutions.
To learn more about occupational pesticide safety and health, visit EPA’s website.