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.”

Ag Day 2015: A beautiful day to be a farmer

California’s agricultural community gathered yesterday on the west steps of the State Capitol to show, see and share the bounty of our state’s farmers and ranchers. It was a perfect day for such a celebration (although to be perfectly honest, the farmers would have preferred rain). In keeping with the United Nations’ declaration of 2015 as the International Year of Soils, the theme for Ag Day this year was “Breaking New Ground.”

Special thanks to the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s partners in organizing Ag Day, the California Women for Agriculture and the California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom.  Thanks also go to our emcee, Kitty O’Neal of KFBK Newsradio, as well as event sponsors the California Egg Farmers, the California Alpaca Breeders Association, the California Farm Bureau Federation, California Grown, the California State Board of Equalization, the California Strawberry Commission, the Farmer Veteran Coalition, Got Milk?, John Deere, the Kubota Tractor Company-California, and the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

 

CDFA AWARDS $5.8 MILLION TO ASSIST FARMERS WITH WATER EFFICIENCY AND ENHANCEMENT

Announced TODAY, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has awarded $5.8 million for 70 different projects in the second phase of a program to implement on-farm water irrigation systems with increased water efficiency and enhancement to reduce water and energy use, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).

The funding for the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP) is part of emergency drought Legislation (SB 103) signed in early 2014 by Governor Brown – authorizing CDFA to distribute as much as $10 million for eligible projects, in cooperation with the Department of Water Resources and the State Water Board.

“These projects are essential to allow farmers to continue agricultural food production while at the same time providing ecosystem services that enhance the environment” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “The result is the continuous improvement of our farming systems while at the same time providing multiple benefits, including water conservation and reduced GHG emissions.”

With this latest round of funding, a total of $9.1 million has been awarded for 155 different projects that have leveraged an additional $6.9 million in private cost-share dollars from grant recipients. The money comes from the state’s portion of Cap-and-Trade auction proceeds. The proceeds are deposited in the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund and appropriated to state agencies.

The funding will reduce GHG emissions through projects that include modifications to improve water efficiency like drip and microsprinkler systems; energy-efficient water pumps; soil moisture sensors; and irrigation scheduling programs that apply water based on crop needs.

This program is the first of its kind at CDFA and applies to its authority under the Environmental Farming Act of 1995, which states that the department should oversee an Environmental Farming Program to provide incentives to farmers whose practices promote the well-being of ecosystem and air quality.

More information on the SWEEP program can be found by visiting  www.cdfa.ca.gov/go/sweep.

UC Davis Launches Innovation Institute for Food and Health

Tackling Food Issues is Big Goal of the Innovation Institute

By Edward Ortiz

Sacramento Bee Reporter

The fate of the world’s food supply, the relationship of food to health, and the role of venture capital in farming were among a slate of issues tackled by noted national scientists and others during the official launch of the Innovation Institute for Food and Health at UC Davis on Wednesday.

The center is a partnership between the university and Mars Inc., and signals a deepening of a 40-year relationship between the two.

The institute is destined to operate under the umbrella of UC Davis’ planned World Food Center, which the university has said it wants to establish in Sacramento, possibly in the downtown railyard.

Wednesday’s event at the Mondavi Center was the first held by the Innovation Institute, which will be funded with $40 million from Mars, the company best known as the maker of Snickers and M&Ms. UC Davis will contribute $20 million.

“This will be a research-based relationship, but there is another element to it. It will also be an innovation-based relationship,” said Harold Schmitz, chief science officer at Mars Inc.

In participating, Mars hopes to find a sustainable business model it can use in the long term for its food operations – especially its growing pet food operation.

For UC Davis, the Institute is being seen as a Silicon Valley-like center where startups and innovative research will be created within the food realm.

Mars will not be the only company involved in the center. Other companies, universities and entities will eventually be brought into the fold, said Linda P.B. Katehi, chancellor of UC Davis.

“A number of faculty have already started collaboration work with other companies, and we will invite them to participate,” Katehi said. She did not specify which companies are involved, or what research might be included.

The broad-based approach the institute seeks to take in tackling food issues was evident in the wide-ranging and powerhouse roster of speakers invited to the symposia.

One of those was molecular biologist and Nobel Laureate Elizabeth Blackburn, who spoke about how education and genetics affect health. Blackburn won a Nobel prize in medicine in 2009 for her research into how chromosomes are protected by shoelace cap-like end pieces called telomeres.

Blackburn related a key study of 100,000 Californians that found those who did not finish high school had shorter telomeres, a phenomenon correlated with the onset of disease, like cancer.

Blackburn said that an innovation institute could allow such research to get into the hands of those who can use it for the public good.

“Communication is absolutely the key thing,” Blackburn said. “Scientists are skeptical of other areas of science. There’s a lot of mutual mistrust.”

Karen Ross, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, also attended. “I believe this is a watershed moment for food and health” she said. “At the end of the day, nutrition education is an important foundation for helping our youth learn lifelong habits and this is the kind of thing that should happen in this region.”

Climate change and its effect on food security was also a topic of discussion.

“We’re at a tipping point where we’ve seen warning signals. We can no longer plead ignorance, we’re no longer bystanders,” said Benjamin Santer, atmospheric scientist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. “So, I hope this new institute can do a better job of communicating the science of climate change.”

After 10 years as CAPCA’s CEO/President, Terry Stark To Step Down

Terry Stark’s Final Speech to CAPCA Conference Attendees

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

“They wouldn’t give me a walk-around microphone because they were afraid I would preach, so you guys lucked out,” noted Terry Stark, the feisty, fun-loving professional CEO and President of the California Association of Pest Control Advisers (CAPCA), who led the organization for 10 years.

Stark spoke to CAPCA attendees during the final session of the 40th Annual CAPCA Conference and Agri-Expo in Anaheim, in October.

“And I don’t have a PowerPoint, so you’re going to luck out even more,” he said.

“I am going to talk to you briefly about some of the programs going forward, and how you, as CAPCA members, can make a huge contribution. You heard California Farm Bureau President Paul Wenger and the other general session speakers talk about investment, involvement and belonging; we need you to step up and do that,’ said Stark.

 

Tell People What You Do!

“With 3,000 PCAs in CAPCA, we’re the third largest association in the state of California, next to the Farm Bureau and Western Growers Association. Commodity boards or mandated programs; and you come to CAPCA because you want to come—because you’re volunteers—and the future will be how you mentor the future PCA generation.”

“How do you do that?” he continued. “You heard two of our speakers say, ‘tell somebody what you do, why you do it, and why you love to do it,'” noted Stark.

“The CAPCA Board was very generous in moving $100,000 dollars three months ago to the Stanley W. Stew Education Fund, Inc. to start the first CAPCA Leadership Institute. We have staff that has been challenged to find champions to go out and raise funds; I don’t care if it is one dollar or one million dollars, to develop a leadership program.

“I love this place. The CAPCA Leadership Institute will inspire plant science students to get their PCA license. And how we’re going do that is that? We’re going to have to our chapters, to our members, and when they talk to anyone with a dollar in their pocket, to make the contribution to the Stanley W.  Stew Foundation; its a [501(C)(3)] corporation, its a tax write-off. And Steve Bickley (CAPCA Board NorCal) and I have the project management to develop the protocols on how we’re going to run this,” noted Stark.

“Well, I’m not stupid; we have Shannon Douglas, our coordinator to our Pathway to PCA program, to help out. In fact, we have two dozen-plus PCAs in the room who attended the Leadership Foundation programs up and down the state. We’re going to take that knowledge from the young farmers and ranchers and from the Farm Bureau, we’ll take that Ag leadership, and we’ll make a program in which at least one dozen PCAs on an annual business basis will learn how to conduct themselves around legislators, supervisors, and school boards. In other words, how do you tell someone that you are important?” Stark said.

 

How to Fix Stupid?

Stark noted that his board is asking a critical question of the candidates for my job, “Can you fix stupid? What I mean by that is when I sit down and talk to PCAs, it’s clear who the smartest person in the room is, and it’s not me,” Stark said.

“So, if you get tapped to be a champion to raise money for the CAPCA Leadership Institute, if you say “no,” I will come back from Texas and hound you until you get your wallet out. I truly believe that that’s going to be the program of the future, it will allow us to reinvest in the `Pathway to PCA’ program.

“When the program headed up by Shannon Douglas was to sunset three years ago, our Ag retailers and basic manufacturers stepped up and funded $300,000 to continue the work. And through those efforts, we have about a 50 PCA license-gain over where we were five years ago. It’s an important program so that we make sure young professionals get that crop protection and crop science education to have a career that can go from 35-40 years. It’s very important,” Stark said.

“When I got on the Board of Directors, I was the oldest guy on the Board. You’ve been in business for 40 years and you’ve done certain things the same way for 30 years, and my job was to help point that ship in a direction where you could have another 40 years. And one of the accomplishments, again, is the generations have changed and we’ve got a younger board of directors now. We have the enthusiasm of a younger board now, and through the leadership of Gary Silveria (CAPCA Vision Planning Committee Chairman), we have crop teams on the table now.

“Ok, you’ve heard crop teams talked about by Jeremy Brisco (CAPCA Executive Committee Chairman) yesterday. Not everyone can leave the field, leave their office, drive to Sacramento, sit in a room for an hour and a half, and drive back to San Diego or Desert Valley or up to Chico. So, how do we get our intellectual knowledge moved forward and yet still be recognized by who you are and why you do what you do?” said Stark.

“We’ll start with 8 areas of crop teams, but the ideal is we’re inclusive. We’re going to use Skype and Go to Meeting technology, and you don’t have to drive five hours to get there. This is the educational gap change that the younger guys and women can do so much better than us older guys,” Stark noted.

 

The Right Champions in Place

“But we recognized that gap, pre-drought, when we had the legislative bore, and there was no money in the budgets, no taxes. You know the University of California is going through the same attrition, and all of a sudden, counties couldn’t send their Ag Commissioners to meetings and Extension people couldn’t travel, or we couldn’t replace their expertise,” Stark noted. “We’ve got 3,000 experts. You will travel, you will provide the leadership and you will succeed. My goal in making this happen for the board of directors is that we have the right people in place. Gary Silveria has put the right champions in place on these crop teams, so if you get asked, `do you want to help with almonds, or do you want to help with strawberries,’ the answer is `Yes, I want to help!’”
“And I guarantee you we will be—CAPCA will be—in 3-5 years—the go-to expert at any of those crop protection incidents that will occur. And you will be standing side-by-side with UC Agricultural and Natural Resources Extension people and the commodity board research folks in fighting the problems. That’s what you will accomplish. That is innovative! I know some of my chapters are going to say, `what are the chapters going to do?’ and I’ll say this, `you have a purpose!’”

“Find that purpose. I’m not going to tell you what your purpose is…. you find your purpose. And you make the crop teams successful. And you make the Pathway to PCA successful. It’s all about being positive; one of our speakers said, `don’t say anything you can’t do.’ Hell, I’ve never said I can’t do anything, said Stark.

Continue reading “After 10 years as CAPCA’s CEO/President, Terry Stark To Step Down”

BREAKING NEWS: Two New ACPs Found in One Trap Near Exeter

CDFA Has Saturated Exeter Area with Extra ACP Detection Traps

The Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner’s offices announed TODAY that two additional Asian citrus psyllids (ACP) have been detected on one trap south of the city of Exeter. The latest interceptions were confirmed by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). Maps and current information are available on the Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner’s website.

CDFA has already begun to saturate the affected areas with detection traps in order to determine the extent of any infestation.The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) and CDFA will work collaboratively to determine what steps are taken next.

The ACP is an invasive species of grave concern because it can carry the disease huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening. All citrus and closely related species are susceptible hosts  for both the insect and the disease. There is no cure once a tree becomes infected. The diseased tree will decline in health,producing bitter, misshaped fruit untilitdies. To date, HLB has been detected on just one residential property in the Hacienda Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles.

Tulare County Ag Commissioner Marilyn Kinoshita said that her staff will continue to support the efforts of our $750 million citrus industry, as well as our residential citrus owners. “I want to emphasize that citrus fruit is safe to eat and the disease is not harmful to human health,” said Kinoshita.

Residents in the area who think they may have seen ACPs are urged to call CDFA’s Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899 or the Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner.

Media inquiries related to technical questions about Asian citrus psyllid and Huanglongbing (HLB) disease are encouraged to contact Katie Rowland, Account Coordinator for Nuffer, Smith, Tucker Inc. at (661) 817-3638.

The best way to fight HLB is to suppress the spread of ACPs which can carry it. So, California Citrus Research Board hired Nuffer, Smith, Tucker, (NST) a public relations firm, to raise awareness of ACPs and HLB, especially among the many California homeowners with backyard citrus trees who may unknowingly be harboring the pest, and to encourage the public to take necessary steps to save California citrus.

 

 

 

Upcoming CDFA Meeting to Discuss Dairy Digester Research Program

Dairy Digesters Are Needed to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is developing a new program, the Dairy Digester Research and Development Program, authorized by the Budget Act of 2014 (Chapter 25, Statutes of 2014). CDFA was appropriated $12 million dollars from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund to provide financial assistance for the installation of dairy digesters in California, which will result in reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

CDFA will administer the program in two phases, beginning with Phase I, Dairy Digester Development and Phase II, Research. An estimated $11 million in competitive grant funding will be awarded to provide financial assistance for the implementation of dairy digesters that result in reduced greenhouse gas emissions and provide other environmental benefits (Phase I). An estimated $500,000 will be made available for research and demonstration projects that improve the economic performance of dairy digesters (Phase II).

Three public stakeholder meetings have been scheduled in November 2014 to explain the new program and to receive comments and suggestions. These public meetings will be held on the following dates and at the following locations:

Thursday, November 6, 2014 – 2:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

University of California Cooperative Extension Stanislaus County

3800 Cornucopia Way

Room: HI

Modesto, CA 95358

 

Monday, November 10, 2014 – 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

University of California Cooperative Extension Tulare County

4437 S. Laspina Street (Across the street from World Ag Expo)

Room: Tulare County Agricultural Building Auditorium

Tulare, CA 93274

 

Thursday, November 13, 2014 – 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Includes Webinar access!

California Department of Food and Agriculture

1220 N Street Room: Auditorium

Sacramento, CA 95814

 

The meeting on November 13 will include a webinar to allow remote attendance.

 

More information about this program is available on the CDFA Environmental Stewardship websiteFor additional information on dairy digesters, click on: California EPA Digesters and California EPA Anaerobic Digestion.

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.

New Standards for California Olive Oil

By: Monique Bienvenue; Cal Ag Today Social Media Manager

The California Department of Food and Agriculture has approved grading and labeling standards for California olive oil, which are scheduled to take effect on September 26, 2014.

The standards were recommended by the recently-formed California Olive Oil Commission – brought into existence by olive oil producers in recognition of their fast-growing industry. The standards will set California-specific guidelines that will apply to handlers producing 5,000 gallons or more of olive oil made from olives grown in California.

“California agriculture has an enviable reputation for high-quality products sought by consumers here and around the world,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “We believe the time has come to designate a ‘California-grown’ olive oil, and these standards are an excellent way to do it.”

The standards, which are based on scientific research at the UC Davis Olive Center, are unique to California production – only extra-virgin olive oil is produced here, and the standards will establish a more stringent limit for free fatty acids, a negative attribute that signals a breakdown of olive oil quality due to exposure to heat, light and oxygen.

The UC Davis Olive Center was built in 2008 and has built a strong university/industry coalition aimed at meeting the research and education needs of olive growers and processors. The Center has delivered more than $3 million in research benefits while supporting itself through product sales, fee-based laboratory analysis, research grants, and donations.

For additional information, please click on the link below:
http://it.cdfa.ca.gov/igov/docs/hearingdocs/Ca_Olive_Oil_Standards_Sept26_2014.pdf

 

DPR Scientists Say Most Fresh California Produce Tested Has Little/No Detectable Pesticide Residues

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) announced that once again, the majority of produce it tested annually had little or no detectable pesticide residues and posed no health risk to the public. 95 percent of all California-grown produce, sampled by DPR in 2013, was in compliance with the allowable limits.

“This is a vivid example that California fresh produce is among the safest in the world, when it comes to pesticide exposure,” said DPR Director Brian R. Leahy. “DPR’s scientifically robust monitoring program is an indication that a strong pesticide regulatory program and dedicated growers can deliver produce that consumers can have confidence in.”

DPR tested 3,483 samples of different fruits and vegetables sold in farmers markets, wholesale and retail outlets, and distribution centers statewide. More than 155 different fruits and vegetables were sampled to reflect the dietary needs of California’s diverse population.

Of all 3,483 samples collected in 2013:

  • 43.53 percent of the samples had no pesticide residues detected.
  • 51.51 percent of the samples had residues that were within the legal tolerance levels.
  • 3.99 percent of the samples had illegal residues of pesticides not approved for use on the commodities tested.
  • 0.98 percent of the samples had illegal pesticide residues in excess of established tolerances. A produce item with an illegal residue level does not necessarily indicate a health hazard.

Each piece of fruit or vegetable may legally contain trace amounts of one or more pesticides. The amount and type of pesticide (known as a tolerance), is limited by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. DPR’s Residue Monitoring Program staff carries out random inspections to verify that these limits are not exceeded.

The produce is tested in laboratories using state-of-the-art equipment operated by California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). In 2013, these scientists frequently detected illegal pesticide residues on produce including:

  • Cactus Pads from Mexico,
  • Ginger from China,
  • Snow Peas from Guatemala and
  • Spinach from the US

Most of the 2013 illegal pesticide residues were found in produce imported from other countries and contained very low levels (a fraction of a part per million). The majority of the time they did not pose a health risk.

One exception occurred in 2013 when DPR discovered Cactus pads, imported from Mexico, that were tainted with an organophosphate-based pesticide. This had the potential to sicken people. DPR worked with the CA. Dept. of Public Health to issue an alert to consumers in February 2014. DPR also worked diligently to remove the entire product it from store shelves and distribution centers. In addition, DPR asked the US Food and Drug Administration to inspect produce at the borders and points of entry to stop shipments into California.

California has been analyzing produce for pesticide residues since 1926 and has developed the most extensive pesticide residue testing program of its kind in the nation. The 2013 pesticide residue monitoring data and previous years are posted at: http://www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/enforce/residue/rsmonmnu.htm