FRESNO - California Department of Pesticide Regulation-licensed pest control advisers, qualified applicators and ground applicators as well as certified crop advisers from more than 20 California cities have completed the free on-line continuing education course on the Western Farm Press website, westernfarmpress.com.

Posted less than a month ago and sponsored by Bayer CropScience, the course offers one-hour of credit in California pesticide laws and regulations.

Recently, the course was redesigned with new graphics and photos by Jennie Lee, Farm Press/Primedia Business Magazine and Media Web art director.

“We are very pleased with the very professional results of Jennie’s work,” said Farm Press publisher Greg Frey. “If you have not visited the site, we encourage DPR licensees to sign on and take the course.”

The course is available at westernfarmpress.com. Go to the California Pest Control Advisers box on the right side of the opening page. Just click on it and take the course.

The course covers the new California groundwater protection regulations.

Those taking the course are asked to read text and then answer a series of 25 questions interspersed within the text. DPR-licensees must answer questions correctly to advance to the next section. You cannot complete the course without answering all questions correctly.

Once the course is completed, a certificate page pops up. Simply fill out the form and e-mail it to Western Farm Press. DPR has granted Western Farm Press permission to submit scantrons without signatures. This course has an assigned number like all DPR-accredited courses.

Scantrons are completed by Western Farm Press and mailed to DPR for accreditation to the licensee.

The course has attracted PCAs and applicators from Blythe, Calif. to Dixon, Calif. who work with crops from dates to tomatoes to cotton as well as the major tree and vine crops.

It has received a positive response from those who have taken it.

“Very good. Thank you very much. More in the future?” were the comments of PCA and farm owner David Dulitz from Springville, Calif.

“Nice class. I learned more (from the on-line course) than in the classroom,” said farm owner and private applicator Michael Finch of Dixon, Calif.

“I like this method of getting CE hours,” said independent PCA Mojtaba Zaifnejad of Camarillo, Calif.

“Make more hours available!” commented Lorenzetti Dino of Dos Palos, Calif.

The course is made available through the financial support of Bayer CropScience.

“It has been a privilege to team with Bayer CropScience on this project,” said Frey. “It reflects a commitment to California agriculture on behalf of Bayer CropScience and we share that commitment at Farm Press.

“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 at the launch of the website.

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

On-line continuing education courses are a growing part of the DPR certification process

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 several 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.

e-mail: hcline@primediabusiness.com