Illinois to Raise Minimum Age for Pesticide Licenses to 18

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Champaign, IL – New age requirements are set to change the landscape for those seeking a pesticide applicator/operator license in Illinois, aligning with revised federal regulations. Starting as early as 2026, individuals must be at least 18 years old to qualify for this license, as announced by the Illinois Department of Agriculture. This adjustment comes in response to federal updates aimed at enhancing safety and responsibility in pesticide application.

According to Travis Cleveland, a specialist with the University of Illinois Extension Pesticide Safety Education Program, this change will bring Illinois in line with other states adhering to new federal standards. However, exceptions will exist for private applicators from immediate families. Those under 18 can still apply restricted pesticides under supervision if they meet specific criteria, including family relations and the types of pesticides used. 

These provisions ensure that while safety standards are tightening, the practical needs of family-run agricultural operations are still met. The detailed guidelines include not using highly hazardous substances and ensuring all applicators have proper safety training within the last year.

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