FRESNO, Calif. - Western Farm Press and Bayer CropScience are offering free continuing education credit on-line for all Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) licensees plus California Certified Crop Advisers (CCA).

The new course for one hour of continuing education in California pesticide laws and regulations is now available on Western Farm Press’ Web site at www.westernfarmpress.com. Just click on the box at the far right to begin the course.

The course has been approved by DPR for licensed California Pest Control Advisers; Ground Applicators (QC); Aerial Applicators (AP/JP); Ground Applicators (QL); Private Applicators and CCAs.

The course covers California’s new groundwater regulations.

“Western Farm Press is pleased to join with Bayer CropScience is providing this valuable service to key individuals vital to the continued success of California agriculture,” said Western Farm Press publisher Greg Frey.

“This course is another of Bayer CropScience’s commitment to support our PCA customers,” said Don Dirksen, Bayer CropScience district manager for California and Arizona.

The course, said Dirksen, is another tool for PCAs to use in fulfilling their continuing education requirements while maximizing their time in the field.

“We encourage licensees to go to the Western Farm Press Web site and take a look at the course and use it,” said Dirksen. “It is part of our commitment to provide added value to pest control advisers.”

Growing trend

David Duncan, branch chief, of the DPR pest management and licensing branch said this new on-line continuing education course is part of a growing trend.

On-line courses represent only about 2 percent of the courses approved by DPR, but it is growing.

There are now seven on line course providers; however, the Western Farm Press/Bayer CropScience course is believed to be the only no-charge course. Most others charge for logging on and administering on-line courses.

“There are a lot of people interested in meeting their continuing education requirements on line and not having to travel to take courses in person,” said Duncan. “And we all know that many people wait until the last minute to meet their continuing education requirements. On-line courses help those people fulfill the requirements to maintain their licenses.”

“We like on-line courses because DPR gets to see the full detail of the course and not just a meeting program outline,” said Duncan.

Pest control advisors are required to obtain 40 hours of continuing education credit every two years; four of those must be in laws and regulations.

Taking the Western Farm Press/Bayer CropScience course on-line will account for one of those hours.

Duncan said DPR is always concerned that PCAs and others are up to date on ever-changing state laws and regulations like the new groundwater management code.

“On-line courses on laws and regs are compatible with our goal of getting the word out from the department on these important issues,” said Duncan.

Duncan said the department is continually looking for improved efficiencies and on-line courses are “great examples of that.”

Simple to take

The course offered on the Western Farm Press Web site is simple to take. There text sections on the subject of protecting groundwater are followed by questions. Answer the questions correctly, and you can move to the next section. If you answer the question incorrectly, a pop-up appears directing you to the text area where correct answer can be found. You then go back to the course and select the correct answer and move to either the next question or the next text section.

There are 25 questions in the course. Answer them all correctly and a certificate will appear for the licensee to fill out and mail, fax or e-mail to Western Farm Press, which is administering the course.

Western Farm Press will mail a scantron to DPR or a notice of completion to CCA administrators ensuring that those who take the course receive the one hour of credit promptly.

DPR has granted Western Farm Press permission to submit scantrons without signatures. This course has an assigned number like all DPR-accredited courses.

“The Web is a great tool to provide far more information to our readers than we can in a limited number of printed pages each month,” said Frey.

“This and other courses in the future will be very specific to California and Arizona pest control advisers to not only maintain their licenses, but to continually improve the important services they provide Western agriculture,” said Frey.

e-mail: hcline@primediabusiness.com