More than 50 farmers and ranchers from 43 Texas and Oklahoma counties have successfully completed the Spray Drift Management online, continuing education course for pesticide applicators licensed in both states offered by Southwest Farm Press.

In April, Southwest Farm Press launched the free online course in on its Web site www.southwestfarmpress.com and a companion Web site, www.farmpressuniversity.com The course has been accredited for 1.50 credits (.50 credits in Laws and Regulations and 1 credit for Drift Management) by the Texas Department of Agriculture and 1 (CEU) each by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry in the categories 1A-Ag Plant and 10-Demo and Research.

“We have received very positive feedback from those who have taken the course. It has been gratifying” said Southwest Farm Press Publisher Greg Frey.

Some of the comments include:

“What a great service. Thank you very much,” from Medina County, Texas, farmer Thomas Blasing of Hondo who farms corn, grain sorghum and cereal grains and also has a cow-calf operation.

“In addition to ag credit, I am a professional engineer and will use the CEUs for my engineer requirements,” said Lubbock County, Texas, farmer David Bradshaw, who farms cotton, corn and grain sorghum.

“Very beneficial information,” commented Brazoria County, Texas, rice grower Robert Hensley of Alvin, Texas.

“This is a great idea and a wonderful way to educate and certify applicators,” said Rogers County, Okla., farmer and pest control adviser Steve Parrett of Claremore, Okla. Very good idea — looking forward to more CEUs,” writes Jeff Turner general manager and CEO Willacy Co-Op, a farmer cooperative based in Raymondville, Texas, with several divisions in the Rio Grande Valley. The Willacy Co-op provides products and services to producers who farm 75,000 acres to 85,000 acres annually of a wide variety of crops plus livestock operations.

‘Very good service’

“This is a very good service to enable licensed applicators to obtain the required CEUs,” commented Giles Passmore, conservationist with the NRCS office in Sayre, Okla. “Very well done,” said Guadalupe County, Texas, farmer Robert Kabo of Seguin, Texas.

The course was developed by the Southwest Farm Press staff from information provided by some of the leading university and governmental agency authorities on managing spray drift to reduce risks.

“The course is not only educational, but simple to complete,” said Southwest Farm Press Editor Ron Smith. There is a body of text detailing principles of spray drift management followed by a series of questions.

“A person must answer all the questions correctly to complete the course online,” said Smith. If a question is answered incorrectly, the licensed applicator is taken back to the text for the correct answer.

Once a person successfully completes the course, he or she e-mails Farm Press a notice of completion and the Farm Press staff notifies the departments of agriculture in Texas and Oklahoma that the licensed applicator has completed the course. For Texas applicators, a completion certificate is mailed to them.

“The course is available 24/7 on the Southwest Farm Press Web site,” said Smith. “That makes it easier for busy licensed agricultural professionals to be updated on information that will help them in their profession as well as earn the necessary CEUs to maintain their applicator licenses.”

e-mail: hcline@primediabusiness.com