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Pennsylvania legislation that originated 54 years ago is being modernized by a bill sponsored by Senator Gene Yaw.

Unanimously approved by the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, the new bill is intended to modernize Pa.'s 1956 Fertilizer Act by requiring lawn fertilizer applicator training and limitations. The bill will now be passed to the legislature for further consideration.

“Pennsylvania’s Fertilizer Act was first passed in 1956 and has not been substantially modernized since,” Senator Yaw said. “The updates I am proposing, in consultation with industry and state agencies, will unquestionably reduce the environmental impact of fertilizer applied to lawn and turf areas, while ensuring that the land will be able to receive adequate nutrients."

Senator Yaw pointed out that homeowners who invest in lawn care services have no way to know if the employees applying fertilizer to their yards are properly trained. "The Department of Agriculture has no authority to investigate irresponsible or illegal applications. This bill will change that,” said Senator Yaw.

Senate Bill 915 will:

  • Establish best management practices for the use of fertilizer
  • Creates a certification program for commercial and public applicators of fertilizer
  • Promote homeowner and private agricultural fertilizer education through public outreach
  • Enhance required labeling of all fertilizer products
  • Provide for the exemption of local laws and regulations
  • Re-establish enhanced reporting requirements
  • Provide a broad-based increase of fees
  • Repeal the separate classification for small package fees for inspections

Senator Yaw, who heads the tri-state Chesapeake Bay Commission, said that if signed into law, the measure would achieve necessary credit in Pennsylvania’s Watershed Implementation Plan.

“The bill seeks to level the playing field so everyone, not just farmers, can decrease nutrient run-off and be part of the solution for cleaner Pennsylvania waters,” Sen. Yaw added.

Similar legislation has already been enacted in Maryland, Virginia, and New Jersey.

This story was compiled from information supplied to us and not written by a particular staff writer. To see a list of our editorial staff please go to our Staff directory.