February 27, 2013 By Ontario Soil & Crop Improvement Association
February 26, 2013, Ridgetown, Ont – The program that educates and trains Ontario farmers and pesticide vendors in the responsible and safe use of pesticides has gone online.
In the past 25 years, the Ontario Pesticide Education Program has trained more than 21,000 farmers and more than 1,100 pesticide vendors in best management practices for pesticide use. As well, the course has trained 273 certified farmers who now provide on-farm pesticide safety training to their assistants and employees. More than 220 courses are planned for this winter and more than 3,000 farmers will either renew their certification or certify for the first time.
Susan Kelner, program coordinator, says this year farmers have an additional way to certify rather than attending face-to-face, day-long courses. Farmers may take the course and certify online. The first online participants were very satisfied with the new format. One participant noted: “I am very happy to have the pesticide course offered this way. It definitely makes it more accessible to people.”
Much of the success of the program lies with the local instructors. Many of them are farmers who have taught pesticide safety for more than 20 years.
Kelner notes that a key course topic this year is how to manage glyphosate-resistant weeds. In Ontario, three weeds have been confirmed resistant to glyphosate: giant ragweed, common ragweed, and Canada fleabane.
Environmental protection is another topic that will emphasize ways to protect non-target plants and animals by reducing spray drift.
For a list of online or face-to-face courses available this season, visit www.opep.ca.
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