Safety in vegetation management is a primary concern for irrigation district managers. For Alligare, a leader in aquatic vegetation management, safety is built into all its services. The company provides in-depth product safety information, application protocol, and in-the-field training to customers to ensure the best outcome for the environment and the applicator.
Alligare’s Western U.S. Regional Manager—Aquatics Dave Blodget is familiar with the anxiety many applicators face when they first use an herbicide such as MAGNACIDE H. He said, “Usually, this stems from the person having heard a story from another person about the product. We listen to their fears and demonstrate that they can safely apply the product with training by following the necessary safety guidelines on the label and by using the proper equipment we provide.”
Alligare provides full-service training to its customers from the get-go. New MAGNACIDE H customers receive classroom and field training. According to Mr. Blodget, the application “is not difficult, but there are certain steps an applicator has to go through to do it properly. We want to make sure that each user is comfortable performing those steps before we leave.”
Customers are trained once a year in product application and safety during regional training events. Just this year, Alligare started full-day workshops to help its customers obtain additional continuing education credits. These full-day events focused on the use of chemicals around water, including ditch bank and in-water management, rotational programs to mitigate weed resistance, and product use.
Training involves updates to any changes to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requirements for chemical labels or personal protective equipment. For example, when Mr. Blodget started working with MAGNACIDE H, the label only required applicators to wear goggles and gloves to make applications. Today, applicators must wear a full-face air purifying respirator and full personal protective equipment to conduct the very same procedures. “We have made modifications to the equipment over the years, adding redundant check valves to make the application equipment as safe as possible for the applicator. We build all our equipment in-house, and the label specifies that only our equipment can be used.”
“Basically, we want them to be prepared to address any potential safety issues,” said Mr. Blodget.
Mr. Blodget explained that Alligare would do whatever is necessary to get a customer up to speed on safety issues. Company representatives can be reached by phone or email 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to answer any questions. Additionally, Alligare representatives conduct one-on-one onsite visits where MAGNACIDE H is being applied to resolve any confusion or questions. “We like to meet with customers in the field.”
Although it is important to follow safety precautions during application, managing the treated water can be just as important for irrigation districts. “We don’t want treated water to get out of the irrigation system and into a natural water course. To prevent this, we have a good look at the system to determine where the water is going to go,” said Mr. Blodget. This is just one way that Alligare helps irrigation districts mitigate any risk of damage to the surrounding ecosystem.
For Alligare, it is critical that each and every customer knows exactly how to apply and manage its products. Mr. Blodget explained, “Treatment solutions like MAGNACIDE H only pose a danger to an applicator if used incorrectly; in fact, there is no better product for the control of submersed aquatic weeds and algae. It is one of the few aquatic herbicides that an irrigation district can apply during the water season and immediately use to irrigate any crop.”