American Society of Agronomy Meets

Plant Soil Conference Discusses Nitrogen Management

By Patrick Cavanaugh Farm News Director

Dan Munk is a UC California Cooperative Extension Fresno County Farm Advisor who specializes in irrigation, crop nutritional management and cotton production systems. He recently spoke about the California chapter of the American Society of Agronomy holding its annual plant and soil conference recently in Fresno. Attendance was great, and agronomic issues regarding water, irrigation and nutritional management were covered.

“[The] California chapter of the American Society of Agronomy convenes a annual meeting known as the plant and soil conference, which was held recently in Fresno for a day and a half. We had the CDFA Secretary Karen Ross address the group as well as some nutrient management experts from across the state and outside of the state,” Munk said. “And we discussed agronomic issues related to water irrigation, nutrient management in agriculture. And there was a pest management session as well.”

There were more than 220 top state agronomists, with many Certified Crop Advisors as well as some growers and industry affiliates attending that meeting.

Nutritional management plans for efficiency, especially for nitrogen, are being closely looked at and discussed.

“I think the nutrient management plans that we’re doing is something that we need to continue to get better information. We have an understanding now of where some of the limitations are now for efficiencies,” Munk explained. “I mean, we can’t always be 100 percent efficient in these things and when we are, that’s when you get into the situation where you have some yield losses. So there’s, there’s always going to be some nitrate movement out of the root system in agricultural systems. That’s just the nature of the beast.”

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A Brief History on the Pest Control Adviser and Certified Crop Adviser Programs

Longtime Crop Adviser Helped Increase Job Market for CCA Industry

By Brian German, Associate Broadcaster

 

The Certified Crop Adviser Program (CCA) was introduced in 1992 as a means to address the increased concerns regarding agriculture’s contributions to a variety of environmental issues.  By 1994, the CCA program was fully established with the support of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, along with the American Society of Agronomy and the California agricultural industry. The program was designed to raise the awareness and professional standards of individuals who make recommendations on agricultural fertilizers, pesticides and related products. 

Allan Romander has a long history with the CCA program, having joined the CCA Board in 2004. “I am currently with the Certified Crop Adviser Program in California, and Arizona I might add. I am a consultant with the organization. I just concluded my term as ICCA Chair and past Chair,” Romander said.

Allan Romander, member, California Certified Crop Adviser Board
Allan Romander, member, California Certified Crop Adviser Board

A Pest Control Adviser (PCA) since 1979, Romander joined the California CCA Board in 2004 and was instrumental in helping to develop a marketing program that nearly doubled the number of CCAs in California in a little less than six years. 

California is one of just a few states that require people who advise farmers on pest control management to be licensed as a Pest Control Adviser.  Amidst rising public concerns regarding pesticide use on California farms, the PCA program was launched in 1973 to ensure that those who make pesticide recommendations are both qualified and knowledgeable. “But that only certified them in the area of pest management,” Romander said. “It never said anything about their competency in the area of crop management or soil or water management.”

certified crop adviser logo“There has long been a gap between growers and consultants. Consultants historically have just held a Pest Control Adviser’s license,” Romander said. Over time, farmers began to ask their PCAs for guidance on multiple subjects outside of pest control, such as fertilizers and irrigation. 

“That’s where the Certified Crop Adviser Program comes in and picks up where the PCA program leaves off.  It covers those categories and certifies to a grower that [the adviser] has competency in those other areas,” Romander said.

Currently, there are close to 4,000 EPA-licensed Pest Control Advisers in California.  Romander noted, “Eighty-five percent of the Certified Crop Advisers in California are also Pest Control Advisers. So it’s a well-established program and well-respected throughout not only the United States, but North America and the rest of the world.”

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Agriculture Science Recognition Awards, Part 4

Elizabeth Mosqueda, Agriculture Science Recognition Award Honoree

By Charmayne Hefley, Associate Editor

 

Elizabeth Guerrero Mosqueda, a graduate student in the Department of Plant Science at Fresno State, was one of four students to receive the Agriculture Science Award in mid-March presented by Jim Patterson, California assemblymember, along with, Sandra Witte, dean of the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology and Lawrence Salinas, Fresno States’s executive director of government relations.

Jim Patterson, California Assemblymember
Jim Patterson, California State Assemblymember

Patterson said Mosqueda, the child of migrant farmworkers from Mexico,“set her sights on overcoming many obstacles from an early age. Elizabeth’s parents worked on the lettuce fields in the Salinas Valley, which led to her understanding the vital role farmworkers have in harvesting crops and the impact of frequent labor shortages on farming. All of that experience led her to study ways to improve lettuce production.”

Patterson said the labor shortage has required the use of automated lettuce thinners to raise lettuce, one of the state’s biggest crops.  “But some farmers are hesitant to use new technology,”said Patterson, “so Elizabeth decided to roll up her sleeves two and a half years ago” and conducted her graduate studies on the comparison of using lettuce thinning machines to lettuce work done by hand. “She completed her study and has since traveled nationwide to share her findings with other scientists and agronomists.”

Patterson added Mosqueda was recently selected as one of fifty students nationwide to attend American Society of Agronomy’s Graduate Student Leadership Conference.Amer Society of Agronomy

“Elizabeth believes that life is a challenge that shapes us into the people that we are meant to be,” Patterson said. “And each and every struggle and accomplishment that life has presented her has made her, and is making her, into the dedicated, hardworking and successful woman she is today.”

While at Fresno State, Patterson said Mosqueda helped to reestablish the Plant Science Club, serving as both the club’s secretary and president. “Elizabeth is also a member and has volunteered for the Central Valley California Women for Agriculture,” Patterson said, “and many other local, statewide and national farming organizations.”

Mosqueda was encouraged to apply for the award by professors in her department. “I’m very proud to be a part of the Department of Plant Science,” Mosqueda said. “I’m very thankful to all my professors, my advisor and all the other mentors who have helped me achieve this prestigious award.”

One month away from completing her program, Mosqueda hopes to obtain a position with the University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE), Monterey County as a farm advisor either in vegetable crop production or weed science upon graduation. Mosqueda said she would like to “help growers firsthand with the problems that are going on in our agriculture industry today.”

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California CCA Certified Exam Feb. 6 2015 Registration Opens

Online Registration is Now Available Testing throughout the State

Crop consultants in California and Arizona have the opportunity until December 5, 2014 to register for the February 6, 2015 California CCA (Certified Crop Adviser) Exam.  The exam will be given at locations in Sacramento, Salinas, Visalia, Ventura, and Yuma.  Individuals can register for exam online.  An exam review session will be held in Sacramento on January 9, 2015, registration and session information will be available at www.capcaed.com.

There are more than 930 CCAs in California and Arizona, 80% of the California CCAs are also licensed pest control advisers.  CCAs have expertise in Nutrient, Soil, Water, Crop and Pest Management.  Growers interested in finding a CCA in their area can go the “Find a Professional” section of the International CCA program website.

Many California CCAs have received additional training in optimizing nitrogen management from the California Department of Food and Agriculture and University of California. The consultants that have completed this training are qualified to write Nitrogen Management Plans that are or will be required of growers by the regional water quality control boards.

The partnership between CCAs and growers is integral to protecting the environment and providing food and fiber for the world.   The program is a voluntary certification program that has been in existence for more than 20 years, administered by the American Society of Agronomy and overseen by a California board of directors.  More information on the California program is available at http://cacca.org/.

For more information contact Steve Beckley at (916)539-4107 or sbeckley@aol.com.

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