Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture Recognizes Landscape Horticulture Program

Instructor Jeffrey Kleinboehl teaches course that is first in state to satisfy Worker Protection Standard for pesticide handler training

When Jeff Kleinboehl designed his program’s Safety and Equipment course, also known as LAHT 1502, he knew the importance of including information about the Worker Protection Standard. Kleinboehl did not know that his foresight and commitment to industry safety would make Dakota County Technical College the first institute of higher learning in the state of Minnesota to meet WPS pesticide handler training requirements for students.

“During the course, we show a DVD from the West Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association called What Workers Need to Know,” Kleinboehl said. “The DVD is an excellent resource, but we also cover additional WPS information regarding heat stress, Material Safety Data Sheets, and the proper labeling, storage, disposal, and transport of pesticides.”

Steve Poncin, the WPS consultant for the Pesticide and Fertilizer Management Division in the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, visited the DCTC campus and saw firsthand how the Landscape Horticulture program equips its students with top-tier technical and business skills, but also trains them to be industry leaders in terms of safety.

“Graduates of DCTC’s Landscape and Horticulture program are going to occupy management positions in Minnesota’s nurseries and commercial greenhouses,” Poncin said. “I think it’s really neat that the program took the lead in recognizing the importance of the WPS. The program’s instructors are in touch with the horticultural industry.”

Students that pass the Safety and Equipment course receive a laminated training certificate from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency verifying that they have completed pesticide worker and handler training as required by the Federal Worker Protection Standard. The first training certificates will be issued during the 2007 fall semester.

“In addition, some of our students will graduate as licensed pesticide applicators,” Kleinboehl said. “Both the certificate and the license add to a graduate’s skill set, making him or her more attractive to a future employer. We make sure that our students have the knowledge required to make the horticultural industry a safer place to work.”

For more information about DCTC’s Landscape Horticulture program, please click the following links:

  • https://www.dctc.edu/future-students/programs/landscape-horticulture.cfm
  • http://www.landscapehorticulture.org/

For more information about the Worker Protection Standard, please click the following link:

  • http://www.epa.gov/oppfead1/safety/workers/training.htm

Employing more than 35,000 people, the horticulture industry in Minnesota features well over 3,000 businesses. The state also tops the country in per capita golf courses. Minnesota’s booming $2.3 billion nursery and landscape industry reflects a nationwide green industry with an annual economic output exceeding $150 billion.

Landscape professionals who graduate from the Landscape Horticultural program at Dakota County Technical College are ready to design, install, and manage landscape and garden projects on residential, commercial, and public properties. The DCTC program is the only one of its kind in Minnesota to earn accreditation from the Professional Landcare Network, or PLANET, the national trade organization of the landscape industry.