About 1,100 online continuing education courses have been completed by licensed California and Arizona pest control advisers and private and qualified applicators on the Western Farm Press Web site, www.westernfarmpress.com.

The courses are offered free and are: Managing Spray Drift to Minimize Problems sponsored by Valent; Powdery Mildew Control in California Grapevines sponsored by Dow AgroSciences and California Groundwater Protection Regulations sponsored by Bayer CropScience.

The courses are available online 24/7 not only on the Western Farm Press Web site, but a companion Web site, www.farmpressuniversity.com

“This has been a very gratifying new service we are providing to pest control advisers, farmers and applicators in California and Arizona,” said Western Farm Press Publisher Greg Frey.

“Response has been overwhelming,” said Frey. More than 2,500 continuing education units have been earned through these three courses since the one was launched a little more than a year ago.

Western Farm Press launched the first CEU on California's new groundwater protection regulations last April. The other two were launched last October at the California Association of Pest Control Advisers annual conference in Anaheim, Calif.

“None of these courses would be available without the strong support and commitment of Valent, Bayer CropScience and Dow AgroSciences,” said Frey. “The key decision makers in these companies recognize it is not only important to provide good, timely, third-part information to Western agricultural professionals, but to provide that information as conveniently as possible. Western Farm Press and Farm Press University online provide both.”

The courses were developed by the Western Farm Press staff using university, government and industry experts as informational resources. All these resources are identified in the opening of the courses.

Easily negotiated

The courses are identified with boxes on the two aforementioned Web sites. They are simple to log onto and negotiate. There are text sections followed by questions. In order to complete the course and earn credit, all questions must be answered correctly.

Upon completion, the licensed professional e-mails a completion form to Western Farm Press which in turns submits that information to California Department of Pesticide Regulation or the Arizona Department of Agriculture for credit to the individual licensees.

Here are some of the comments from people who have completed courses this year:

“Great course. Difficult and rewarding material. Can't beat the location,” comments Valley Center, Calif., avocado and citrus farmer Christopher Ambuul.

“This is a great way to obtain hours without using work time,” said Coalinga, Calif., pest control adviser Bill Bollman who consults on grapes, cotton, corn, alfalfa, processing tomatoes, vegetables, almonds and cereal grains for San Joaquin Valley farmers.

“Keep having the online programs available to us,” notes Lompoc, Calif., independent pest control adviser Stan Deguchi, who consults on 7,500 acres of vegetables and ornamentals.

“Good format, but some of the questions are a bit tricky,” said Clifford Kitayama of Durham, Calif., an independent PCA who oversees 8,000 acres of grapes, almonds, pistachios, walnuts and stone fruit.

“Excellent course. Was very informative. Thanks for helping me earn my credits online from the convenience of my home,” said Milpitas, Calif., almond grower Paramjit Singh.

“This really helps producers gain hours required by the county for our (pesticide) permits. More courses would be useful. Thank you,” said Yuba City, Calif., producer John Amarel who farms 2,700 acres of stone fruit.

“This was so much better than attending a class,” said Fresno, Calif., grower K. Bruce Koligian who farms 160 acres of grapes.

“Job well done,” was the comment from Greenfield, Calif., vegetable producer Jose Ramirez.

“More online courses — saves time and money,” writes Oakville, Calif., producer Doug Wright, who farms grapes, vegetables, almonds, walnuts and stone fruit.

“Good stuff. I enjoyed it,” comments retail PCA Edward Brown of Cherry Valley, Calif., who consults on grapes, corn, vegetables, strawberries, avocados and watermelons.

“Good presentation of material. A time-efficient way to get the best information available,” says Clovis, Calif., PCA James Knabke.

“Online courses are a great idea,” said Davis, Calif., independent PCA Michael Montague who consults on 5,000 acres of grapes, vegetables and nursery stock.

“With comments like these, it is easy to see why we think this new online effort is providing a valuable service to our readers,” said Frey.

“Log on and see for yourself,” added Frey.

e-mail: hcline@primediabusiness.com