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Online Learning Modules to Improve Access to DEC Category Recertification Credits for Fruit and Vegetable Farmers 2009

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Project Leaders: A. Seaman, NYS IPM; R. Gardner, Pesticide Management Education Program

Cooperators: P. Treadwell, CCE Information Technology Group; M. Wells, NYS IPM Program; C. Hoepting, CCE Cornell Vegetable Program; D. Kowalski, Pesticide Management Education Program

Source of funding: Smith-Lever

Abstract: New York farmers who apply or supervise the use of restricted use pesticides are required to be certified by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and must obtain recertification credits through continuing education to maintain certification. CCE educational meetings are an important source of DEC recertification credits, but fruit and vegetable extension programming is uneven across the state and some farmers must travel to statewide conferences to obtain credits. Online modules offer a convenient option with flexible timing and little or no travel required. Farmers can access them from home or from their county extension offices.  Currently, Cornell does not offer online courses for DEC category credits, and commercial firms from out of state are stepping into the gap.  New York farmers would be better served by courses that include material that is based on local research, are relevant to New York conditions, and focus on extension priorities identified by farmers and other stakeholders.