Southwest Farm Press has launched a free, online continuing education course for licensed, certified applicators in Texas and Oklahoma.

The course is now available on www.southwestfarmpress.com and www.farmpressuniversity.com

The course subject is “Spray Drift Management” and has been accredited for one CEU each in categories 1A-Ag Plant and 10-Demo and Research by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture Food and Forestry and 1.5 credits (one-half credit for laws and regulations and one credit for Drift Minimization) by the Texas Department of Agriculture.

“This new project by Southwest Farm Press is part of our continuing commitment to serve the informational needs of our readers,” said SWFP editor Ron Smith.

“We know how busy licensed, certified applicators are and this new online CEU course is designed to provide what we think is excellent information on minimizing spray drift, but also to help in meeting the continuing education requirements of licensed applicators,” said Smith.

The Texas Department of Agriculture and the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry have been very helpful in guiding Southwest Farm Press through the course accreditation process in launching the first-ever free online continuing education course offered by a farm publication in the Southwest, said Smith.

The course is quick and easy to complete. Just log onto the course at either the Southwest Farm Press or Farm Press University sites. There is a “Spray Drift Management” button identifying the course.

There you will find information on how to minimize spray drift followed by a series of questions. Answer the questions correctly and you will earn continuing education units.

Upon completion of the course, a check out page will appear that will ask for your name and license number along with other information. Fill that out and e-mail it with submit button at the bottom of the page and the Southwest Farm Press staff will notify Texas or Oklahoma departments of agriculture that you have completed the course.

The final page of the course is a verification of attendance form for your records.

“That’s it, and it’s free,” said Smith.

The course was written by the Southwest Farm Press staff with input and assistance from: Jim W. Wells, president, Environmental Solutions Group, LLC; Richard Stoltz, aerial application consultant and NAAA Operation S.A.F.E. analyst; Ken Giles, professor of biological and agricultural engineering, University of California, Davis. Also providing background information: Reports and other materials issued by the Spray Drift Task Force, available online at www.agdrift.com; “The Safe and Effective Use of Pesticides”, second edition (ANR Publication 3324), written by Patrick J. O'Connor-Marer and published by the University of California's Integrated Pest Management Project; the “Proceedings of the North American Conference on Pesticide Spray Drift Management (1998)”; and numerous on-line sources.

“We think it is an excellent course,” said Southwest Farm Press publisher Greg Frey.

“A similar spray drift management course was developed for licensed pest control advisers in California and Arizona and launched last October. It has been well received,” said Frey.

These online continuing education courses are part of a new online initiative developed by Farm Press, a division of Primedia,

So far a total of three CEU courses have been launched by Western Farm Press which serves the California and Arizona agricultural markets.

In addition, two of those courses have been accredited by the National Alliance of Independent Crop Consultants.

Plus, the American Society of Agronomy has accredited the spray drift management course for online continuing education credit for the nation’s 14,000 Certified Crop Advisers (CCAs). It will be rolled out later this spring.

“Since we launched this effort less than a year ago, 1,200 continuing education courses have been taken online in California and Arizona through the Western Farm Press website,” said Frey. “We have received many positive comments about this new online effort from those who appreciate getting the information and the convenience of getting online CEUs online.

“This has been an exciting and obviously welcome addition to the efforts of Farm Press to provide information and service to our readers,” said Frey.

e-mail: rsmith@primediabusiness.com