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Posted 30 November 2015. PMN Crop News.

Store It Safely

Six tips for keeping your pesticide-storage area safe

Source: United Soybean Board Press Release.

Chesterfield, Missouri (November 19, 2015)--Pesticides and crop-protection products are vital tools for most farming operations as insect and weed control can directly impact soybean productivity and profitability. Because many farmers apply these products themselves, they may need to store pesticides on their farms.


Experts say safe pesticide storage is important for both human and environmental safety.

“We try to encourage farmers to buy only what’s needed for that year to minimize what’s on hand,” says Dean Herzfeld, pesticide safety and environmental education program coordinator for University of Minnesota Extension. The program trains farmers and commercial pesticide applicators and offers certification courses. Similar programs exist in other states.

Since it’s not always possible to avoid pesticide storage, here are six tips to lessen the potential for spills or accidents.

Storage facility

1. Pesticides should be stored in a locked, secured, fire-resistant and labeled area, such as a cabinet, locker, storage room or a separate building. Only people who need to be in the area should be given access.

2. Pesticides need to be stored away from feed, seed or veterinary supplies to prevent cross contamination. They should also be stored off the ground on a rack or shelves. Dry products should be stored above liquid items to minimize damage and contamination from leaks.

3. A non-permeable floor, such as concrete, will help limit contamination if a spill does occur.

4. Especially in cold-weather states, keeping pesticides in an insulated or climate-controlled building can prevent products from going out of condition due to freezing and thawing.

Available materials

5. Herzfeld says it’s important to have certain materials available near, but outside, the storage area for reference or in case of a spill or fire. Those materials can help responders understand what products are inside. These materials include:

• Copies of Safety Data Sheets and labels for all products being stored

• Emergency telephone numbers and other contact information

• Personal protective equipment

• Detergent

• Hand cleaner

• Water

• Absorbent materials such as saw dust, floor dry or cat litter

• Shovel, broom and dustpan

• Fire extinguisher rated for ABC fires

If spills occur

6. Herzfeld says some states don’t require farmers to have an incident-response plan, but that doesn’t mean they’re not a good idea. It is good practice to have one so farmers and farm workers know how to respond in the event of a spill. “Act quickly, protect yourself first, control the spill, contain it and then call,” Herzfeld explains.