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Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences

This office supports crop producers in Augusta, Bath, Highland, Rockbridge, and Rockingham Counties. We offer workshops, field demonstration, and one on one consultation in the areas of nutrient management, row crop and forage production, pesticide usage, and natural resources conservation. We can also help direct you toward science-based information and resources within the Land Grant University system. Our goal is to help farmers maximize their return on investment and serve as good stewards of the land by making informed decisions.


Paraquat Training & Exam

Receive the training and exam required for the purchase and use of paraquat. Call 540-564-3080 to set up an appointment at our Harrisonburg Office.


Private Pesticide Applicator License

The exam is a 50 point, multiple choice test. Please contact 540-564-3080 to set up an appointment to take the exam. We can also provide information on aquiring training material; periodically we offer training courses for the exam.


Private Pesticide Applicator Recertification

Private pesticide applicators are required to take a continuing education class every 2 years. You should receive notification from VDACS by mail in the fall of the year your license expires. Around the same time, we do our best to mail information to applicators about upcoming recertification classes that we offer in various locations within Rockingham County each year. Classes run from October-mid January.


Commercial Pesticide Applicatior License

This is managed by VDACS. You can find application and testing information here at:


Commercial Pesticide Applicator Recertification

We typically offer a local recertification class covering multiple certification categories, usually in January/February.


Soil Testing

The Virginia Tech Soil Testing Lab offers free soil testing services for agricultural producers. Lawn and home garden samples are $10. Soil sample boxes and submission forms can be obtained at our office. We also lend soil testing probes. Soil sampling and mailing of samples is up to the client. The soil testing lab will contact you with the results of your soil tests, but feel free to contact us for help interpreting results. It usually takes about 1-2 weeks for the lab to process samples.


Plant nematode, plant disease, and insect identificatio

Virginia tech diagnostic services offers free identification and control recommendations. Before bringing in a sample, please contact us for details about collecting a good sample in order to provide the lab with the best information as possible. In many cases we can ship the sample for you. Samples should not be mailed after Wednesday, otherwise, they often arrive in Blacksburg on the weekend and are in poor condition by the following Monday.


Weed identification & control recommendations

We can typically identify weeds here at the office. Please bring a whole plant sample if possible, and try to keep it cool and moist.


Conservation practices, cost-share, and agricultural lending

Please contact the USDA service center in Harrisonburg for the Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Shenandoah Valley Soil & Water Conservation Service (SWCD). 540-433-9126.



Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences Information