Chemtura Corporation has assumed exclusive sponsorship of Grapevine Powdery Mildew Control, one of the most popular continuing education courses (CEU) offered online by Western Farm Press.

Western Farm Press has a number of these continuing education courses online, and we are proud to sponsor this one specific to controlling powdery mildew on California grapes,” said Mike Dupré, market manager, edible crops at Chemtura Corporation. “Powdery mildew is one of the primary diseases in grape production as well as in tree fruit and vegetables, and our new liquid formulation of Procure fungicide, Procure 480SC, is ideally suited to those markets.”

“We also sponsor the almond pest management course and have received many positive comments from PCAs in California who deal with nut tree crops telling us that they really appreciate these crop specific courses and the convenience of taking them online, so they don't have to travel or take time out of their daily contact with growers to get additional credits. I'm sure we will have similar success with the powdery mildew course.”

“The powdery mildew course has been one of the most popular on the Western Farm Press/Farm Press University Web sites (www.westernfarmpress.com and www.farmpressuniversity.com), and we are very happy to be the exclusive sponsor,” said Steve Kant, director of marketing services, Chemtura Corporation. “This course provides crop advisers and consultants with the relevant and timely information to assist them in working with their grower customers on vineyard management decisions. It is also the second CEU course to be sponsored by Chemtura which highlights how beneficial we feel these courses have become to the California PCA and consultant community.”

Greg Frey, publisher of Western Farm Press, said, “We are pleased to have the opportunity to partner with Chemtura on providing this valuable CEU to PCAs and other Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) licensees for the next two years.”

The Grape Powdery Mildew Control CEU is accredited for two CEUs by DPR for 2006, and it will be submitted to DPR for 2007 credit. It is also accredited for 2 CEUs by the California Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) program. As a DPR accredited course, it also is an approved course for licensed Private Applicators/growers through local county agricultural commissioners.

The course was developed with Doug Gubler, University of California Extension plant pathologist, as the primary contributor. He is one of the most highly respected authorities on powdery mildew in the world.

The course was recently reviewed by Gubler. He verified the information in it as the latest available. “We may have new information later on powdery mildew to include in the course, but for now the information in the course is the best available for controlling powdery mildew in grapes.”

Gubler worked closely with Western Farm Press in preparing and writing the course. “I have personally gone online and taken the course and am pleased with it. The information is complete and well presented.”

The Powdery Mildew course is one of seven offered on the Western Farm Press and Farm Press University Web sites. Links to the seven courses, offering 16 CE hours, also are available on the California Association of Pest Control Advisers (CAPCA) Web site (www.capca.com).

Western Farm Press has been offering free online CEUs for a little more than two years. “The response has been overwhelming in the PCA community in California and Arizona,” Frey said.

To date, more than 5,600 courses have been completed online. “We should reach 6,000 by the end of 2006,” he added.

“This fall, PCAs and other licensees are finishing up their continuing education requirements; dozens are completing courses each day. For the first three days in November alone, more than 100 courses were completed.”

“It has been amazing. It has been made possible through the financial support of agribusiness leaders like Chemtura in developing and managing the courses,” Frey continued. Western Farm Press notifies DPR and CCA of each person's successful course completions.

By the end of the year, it is expected that the total number of DPR licensees who have completed the Powdery Mildew course should be 1,000.

The following includes comments from several PCAs upon completing the powdery mildew course:

“Great learning tool,” was the comment from Tulare County, Calif., PCA Charlie Backman.

“Informative. Time saving,” was the comment of Oak View, Calif., PCA Craig Harris.

“This powdery mildew course is an excellent course. A great way to learn,” said Modesto, Calif., PCA Donald Vieira.

“I think you get more out of these Western Farm Press online courses than you do in some meetings. These are great educational tools,” said Linden, Calif., PCA Dominic Alonso

One of the most telling comments about the convenience of online courses came from Independent PCA Jill Lionvale of Arroyo Grande, Calif., who said, “I am a working PCA with three small children. This is the only way I can get the hours I need to maintain my licenses when babysitters aren't available. Think about that, and thanks!”