California and Arizona licensed pest control advisors and applicators and Certified Crop Advisers in both states have access online to more than 23 hours of continuing education units (CEUs) available this year on the Western Farm Press Web site (www.westernfarmpress.com).

California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) and Arizona Department of Agriculture (ADA) have re-accredited all the courses offered in 2005 on the Web site for 2006 and some have additional hours added. The California Certified Crop Adviser program also has accredited all courses, which also makes them accredited for Arizona CCAs.

To date more than 2,400 courses have been taken on www.westernfarmpress.com since Western Farm Press and Bayer CropScience joined together to sponsor the first online CEU in the spring of 2004.

The total number of hours earned by licensed agricultural professionals in both states total more 3,500.

“This online educational program has been a tremendous success for Western Farm Press and course sponsors,” said Greg Frey, Western Farm Press publisher. “The response has been simply overwhelming, and we are looking forward to even more courses in the near future.”

New courses ready

Two new CEUs are scheduled for launch in February.

Rob Schwehr, product manager for the Bayer imidacloprid (Admire Pro, Provado) insecticide products, contracted with Western Farm Press for sponsorship of the first online CEU. The subject: California's new groundwater regulations.

Schwehr is former Californian and a former DPR licensee who recognizes the importance of conveniently earning continuing education hours online to maintain a DPR license.

“The California PCA is the focal point of our marketing efforts in California and these online CEU courses represent a key element in providing services to these decision makers in the largest agricultural market in the U.S.,” said Schwehr.

Almost 700 DPR licensees have taken the Bayer CropScience course since it went on line in the spring of 2004.

The groundwater regulation CEU has been updated for 2006 and granted 2 CEUs in laws and regulations for the next 12 months. Previously, it was accredited for only one CEU in laws and regulations.

All the Cal DPR courses are accredited not only for PCAs (AA), but all other DPR licensees, including both Ground Applicator categories (QC and QL), Private Applicators (PA) and Aerial Applicators (AP/JP).

Here are the courses accredited and available now at www.westernfarmpress.com:

  • Powdery Mildew Control in California Grapevines, sponsored online by DuPont Crop Protection. It is accredited for 2 CEUs by DPR and 2 CE credits for California Certified Crop Advisers (CCAs).

  • Lepidopterous Pest Management/Pesticide Safety Review sponsored by DuPont Crop Protection. This is a combo course with one hour of credit in the “Other” category and one hour in laws and regs. It also has CCA accreditation and the Arizona Department of Agriculture (ADA) has granted it two CEUs for all of its credential holders.

  • Spray Drift Management to Minimize Problems, is sponsored online by Valent USA. It is accredited for 2 CEUs by DPR in the laws and regulations category and 2 hours by ADA. CCA has certified it for 1 CEU in the Integrated Pest Management category.

  • Insecticide Resistance Management in Agronomic and Row Crops. This course is also sponsored by Valent USA, the only company sponsoring two courses. It is accredited now for 3 CEUs by DPR and CCA as well as the Arizona Department of Agriculture.

  • California's Groundwater Regulations has been revised and given an additional CEU by DPR which means it can now be taken for 2 CEUs in laws and regulations. Bayer CropScience is the sponsor of this course.

University sources

Each course was developed and written by the Western Farm Press staff using primarily resources provided by University of California and University of Arizona Cooperative Extension specialists, farm advisors, on campus professors and others. At the beginning of each course contributors are acknowledged.

“Without not only the tremendous support but encouragement from both universities, these courses would not be as thorough and valuable as they are,” said Frey. “'The feedback we receive from those who have taken courses repeatedly tell us how comprehensive the information is and how much agricultural professionals, growers and applicators appreciate access to it.”

The courses are all designed the same; there is a series of text followed by questions. A person taking the course must answer all questions correctly to proceed to the end of the course. Once the course has been completed, the licensed professional submits a completion form to Western Farm Press, which in turns notifies the accrediting agency that the licenses profession has earned the appropriate CEUs.

A person can print out a hard copy of the course in the beginning if he or she wants to review the material before going online. However, the course must be completed online.

All courses are free and made available by the commercial sponsors.

e-mail: hcline@primediabusiness.com