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A fee holiday for pesticide and fertilizer licensees as well as farmers purchasing fertilizer will continue into 2020, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection recently stated.

The fee holiday means that for the second year in a row, fertilizer dealers will omit the agricultural chemical-cleanup-program surcharge from customer bills. It’s the third year that pesticide and fertilizer businesses, commercial pesticide applicators, and pesticide manufacturers will not need to pay the fee as part of license fees. The agricultural chemical-cleanup-program surcharge goes into the Agricultural Chemical Cleanup Program fund to help pay for the costs of cleaning spills. The amount of the fee varies with the license type. The fee holiday will extend through June 2020 for fertilizer sales, and through the 2019-2020 license year for other licensees.

The surcharge is based on the level of the agricultural chemical-cleanup-program fund as of May 1 of each year. When the fund remains greater than $1.5 million, the department doesn’t levy the surcharge.

The fee holiday is a result of an effort beginning in 2015 to more closely align the revenues and expenditures in the department’s Bureau of Agrichemical Management because fees collected were exceeding the funding needed for cleanup projects. The department recommended changes after a series of meetings with representatives from farm organizations, and the pesticide and fertilizer industries.

The fee holiday first took effect in 2018. The law requires that the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection examine the fund balance May 1 each year to decide whether to continue the fee holiday.

When the surcharge is in effect, fertilizer and pesticide businesses pay it when they renew their licenses, and farmers pay it when they purchase fertilizer. Visit datcp.wi.gov for more information.