As many of you are now aware, the Nebraska Legislature passed LB 254, which amends the Nebraska Pesticide Act such that anyone who applies a pesticide using aircraft in Nebraska must possess or work under a person possessing a Nebraska Aerial Pesticide Business License. Governor Heineman signed this bill into law on February 11th, and it is effective as of May 1st of this year.
Enclosed with this cover letter is a copy of the license application form the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) will use this year. This form can be completed and faxed or mailed to our agency. While most of the information NDA must collect on this application is probably self- explanatory, I would like to walk you through the form and explain what NDA expects to see for information, in order to reduce the amount of confusion and avoid wasting your time in telephone calls or e-mails to clarify incorrect information.
It might seem like just another form header to most people, but it includes our mailing address, toll-free phone number, and fax number (not toll-free).
Since this is a business license, NDA must collect relevant business information. The new law requires that we collect the names of all officers, partners, or owners of the business, and the personal information of the primary applicant or license holder.
This section also requires the specific location of both the primary and secondary points of departure for aircraft. If the primary location is outside of Nebraska, we want to know that. All locations, primary and secondary alike, must be identified using one of four methods: the airport locator ID, the physical mailing address, the legal description, or the GPS coordinates for the loading pad. The new law does not stipulate exactly where the GPS coordinates are taken, so NDA believes it needs to be consistent and has decided the location where pesticides are loaded on a daily basis would be a good choice.
A new law passed by the 2009 Legislature now requires all State agencies to verify individuals applying for any license with the State to be legal citizens of the United States, or legally present in the country. The law only applies to sole proprietors, so if the applicant for the license is in any way a corporation (Subchapter S, LLC, partnership, etc.), they do not need to complete the section on citizenship.
The form then asks for specific details on FAA Part 137 certification, commercial pilot license number, and NDA pesticide applicator number. This information should be for the primary license holder who is applying for the business license. The form also requires all license holders to provide information on their resident agent, if they are from outside the state of Nebraska. The Nebraska Pesticide Act allows someone to declare the Secretary of State to be their designated agent, if they have no other person residing in the state to serve in that capacity. Finally, this section includes the fee payment section, which allows the applicant to pay by credit card, cash, or check. A signature by the person submitting the application is requested in case there are any questions NDA has regarding the information provided.
Pilots Working for Business License Holder
LB 254 requires that all aerial applicators applying pesticides in Nebraska either possess the business license or work for/under the license holder's supervision. This section provides space for those additional pilots to provide their information to NDA (one person on the first page, five more on the second page). The new law requires that the business license holder notify NDA for any pilot they employ or use, and provide the estimated dates of commencement and termination of service. Since the law stipulates the business or pilot must possess the license, or work for a license holder prior to commencement of aerial activities, NDA expects notification to be made just about any time, including nights and weekends. Therefore, the information required for additional pilots can be faxed to the number on the form at any time, or the information can be provided by voice message at the toll-free number on the form at any time. It is important to include the name and license number of the aerial pesticide business for which the notification is being submitted.
Procedurally, NDA is aware that both resident and non-resident pilots can move around the state quickly and with little advance notice. The question has been asked whether business license holders need to notify NDA if they begin work for another business license holder, or whether they can notify NDA about a pilot that might come and go a number of times during the season. At this time, NDA is relying on the legislative intent of the law and testimony to the Legislature to guide their decision. NDA will not require a pilot who works for one business license holder to notify the agency every time they leave for a few days and return to work for the original operation, so long as the following procedures are followed: the initial notification to NDA from the business license holder must include all dates of estimated service from commencement to termination. NDA would expect this to result in commencement dates ranging from early spring to late summer or early fall, rather than a series of dates that the pilot is expected to work. NDA would question a notification that indicated the pilot was commencing on January 1st and terminating December 31st, since aerial pesticide application does not occur at those times of the year (at least not in Nebraska).
As for the question about an aerial business license holder being required to notify NDA of all their activities for other license holders, again, the agency looks to the legislative intent of LB 254. The Legislature passed the new law in order to allow NDA to be able to determine who the primary responsible business was for any airplane involved in pesticide application. If an aerial applicator designates a primary point of departure in Lancaster County, NDA would not expect to find that person or aircraft operating in western Nebraska out of that primary point of departure. Therefore, NDA expects applicators in this situation to do one of two things: They can include all of the secondary points of departure on their own license, making all activities they do anywhere in the state their sole responsibility, or they can notify NDA that they are working for another aerial business license holder under that person's or company's license. Either way, the intent of the law is to be able to track an aircraft and pilot wherever they might work in the state, and respond to calls to the agency, so a quick determination can be made regarding who might be involved, should the agency be contacted for that information.
In closing, it is important to understand the concept of reporting and notification, since that will most likely cause the greatest confusion and potential violations of the new law. All aerial applicators must possess or work for someone who possesses an aerial business license. The aerial pesticide business is responsible for notifying NDA anytime they bring in a new pilot, before they commence spray operations for that aerial business license holder. While NDA believes we should be able to issue business licenses in a timely manner, it is critical that aerial applicators not wait until the last minute to obtain the license or notify the agency of additional pilots. Notification of additional pilots can be made at any time without a license fee; however, issuance of the original license will take some time, since a fee must be processed and business information must be collected and verified. Licenses expire on December 31st of each year. NDA would like to reissue the same license number to the same companies if possible, and will be designing renewal programs to make this happen. It is very likely the business license will not look like other pesticide licenses, in order to make it easily distinguishable to inspectors and others who might want to post the license at the place of business.