"Biopesticides — Effective Use in Pest Management,” a new continuing education course is now available on the Western Farm Press Web site and will soon be offered on other Penton Media agricultural publication Web sites.

Sponsored by Marrone Bio Innovations, Davis, Calif., the course is the 20th developed by Farm Press/Penton Media and the first on the subject of biopesticides. Available at Western Farm Press and CAPCA Web site, the course is accredited for two hours, including a half-hour of laws and regulations, by the California Department of Food and Agriculture for all DPR licensees and county pesticide permit holders. It is also accredited for 2 hours by the Arizona Department of Agriculture and for 2 IPM hours by the Certified Crop Adviser program.

It has been nearly half a century since the Environmental Protection Agency registered the first biopesticide, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), a product still widely used today. Now, there are almost 250 biopesticide active ingredients registered, and the list keeps growing.

For the past few years these materials have been primarily relegated to organic production, but that is changing as they become a larger part of traditional agriculture. The focus of the new CEU course is on biopesticides that are available today and how they are used as components of Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

“We are proud to be in the biopesticide business, a crop protection category that is growing, maturing and realizing widespread acceptance in agribusiness globally,” says company founder and CEO Pam Marrone. “What many don’t realize is that more than 80 percent of today’s biopesticides are used in conventional farming. This new online course focuses on all aspects of biopesticide use in both organic and conventional farming and is designed to help pest control advisers (PCAs) and growers understand the best use of the materials.”

Biopesticides are naturally-occurring substances, such as plant extracts, fatty acids or pheromones, that control pests using a non-toxic mode of action to the pest. They are not only used as elements of IPM, but increasingly are a part of resistance management programs.

“Marrone Bio Innovations is a leader in the biopesticide industry, and the course Farm Press/Penton Media has developed in cooperation with the company is a first for us and Marrone,” says Penton Media Vice President and Farm Press Publisher Greg Frey.

“It adds a unique dimension to our extensive online CEU curriculum that has been developed over the past five years. More than 21,000 online CEU courses have been completed since we launched our first course in August, 2004.”

As with all Farm Press/Penton Media online courses, the new Marrone-sponsored course is provided free and is available 24/7. “We are excited about this new course and how it provides a different dimension of understanding in the world of pest management,” says Frey.