- Education and Training: demonstration
- Pest Management: weed ecology, ecological pest management
- Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures
There are currently more than 4,000 licensed pest control advisors (PCAs) in California and 960 licensed pesticide consultants in Oregon. These professionals are responsible, along with the farmers and ranchers who employ their services, for making critical crop management decisions. In that capacity they have the opportunity to supply key information to producers about the efficient use of farm resources and enhancing natural biological cycles and controls. Although PCAs and consultants have many continuing education opportunities available to them, the focus is largely on conventional farming practices dependent on outside inputs of pesticides and fertilizers. The overall goal of this project was to reach this key audience (PCAs, agricultural consultants and other agricultural professionals) with practical information on ecological pest management through several non-traditional methods (audio cassettes, subscription fax and email, and computer-based course), and evaluate which educational approaches are most effective. These educational approaches have been identified as fitting into consultants’ busy work schedules. Each approach provides flexibility in terms of time, location, and intensity. Integrating them into a unified program has the potential of reaching a large number of people across a wide area, including more remote rural locations not served through traditional conferences and workshops.
During this final reporting period we have accomplished the following:
Distributed 12 bulletins on sustainable agriculture practices to crop consultants in Oregon via subscription fax and email, and
Completed and delivered a computer-based course for certified PCAs in ecological pest management in grapes.
The overall goal of this project was to provide PCAs, agricultural consultants and other agricultural professionals with current information on ecological pest management. To accomplish this goal we tested and used several non-traditional approaches, and evaluated which information delivery methods were most effective. Discussions with project participants during the initial phase of the project established the following specific project objectives (slightly revised from initial proposal):
1. Develop and distribute a computer-based/internet course in ecological pest management for PCAs and other agricultural professionals.
2. Provide practical training in ecological pest management and sustainable agriculture to PCAs through a series of audio cassettes.
3. Provide practical information on sustainable agriculture and ecological pest management to PCAs in Western Oregon through a subscription FAX service and electronic mail listserve. (Sub-contract with OSU Integrated Plant Protection Center)
4. Evaluate the effectiveness of the various educational approaches for this group of agriculture professionals.