Washington pesticide safety

Ofelio Borges of the Washington State Department of Agriculture trains farmworkers to handle pesticides. The department was recently honored for its robust pesticide training effort.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture’s pesticide-safety training program was honored recently at the Pesticide Stewardship Alliance’s national conference in San Antonio, Texas.

The department’s Technical Services and Education Program earned a national innovation award and accolades as “one of the most robust pesticide safety training programs in the nation,” according to a department press release.

The alliance is a national consortium of federal, state and local government agencies, education and research institutions, and other groups.

Ofelio Borges, manager of the pesticide training program, accepted the alliance’s Program Innovation Award on behalf of the department.

“We put a lot of effort into making sure farmworkers have the training they need to safely handle pesticides,” Borges said in a statement. “It’s great to have our hard work recognized.”

The department trains pesticide applicators in Spanish and English. Courses are routinely full, and the department works with farms to train workers in fields and orchards.

The alliance hailed Washington as a national leader in training and innovation.

“The entire agriculture industry has tremendously benefited from the program by learning about pesticides, protection and exposures,” the alliance said in a statement. “Currently, Washington state has one of the most robust pesticide safety training programs in the nation.”

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