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.”

Brexit Affects U.S. Agricultural Trade

Joel Nelsen’s Commentary on Washington D.C. Meetings, Brexit and U.S. Agricultural Trade

By Lauren Dutra, Associate Editor

Joel Nelsen, president of California Citrus Mutual based in Exeter, Calif., spoke about his advocacy for growers and the impact Brexit has on U.S. agricultural trade as he arrived at the Fresno Yosemite International Airport from Washington, D.C. last week. Brexit is an abbreviation of “British exit,” which refers to the June 23, 2016 referendum by British voters to exit the European Union (EU), according to Investopedia.

Nelsen explained, “There were two missions I was on while I was in Washington. One had to do with a proposal to allow lemon imports from Argentina. We’re definitely opposed to it because of pests and diseases, and a lack of transparency in that country over the last one to two decades.”

“We have a comment period,” Nelsen continued, “but we have asked for an extension on that comment period because of the scope of the rule and the economic impact, and we haven’t heard a word on that,” he said. “We met with our colleagues and friends in Washington, D.C.  Senator Feinstein, Senator Boxer and a couple of House Office Committees have agreed to make a phone call to the Secretary of Agriculture and get a determination on that,” he said.

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The second purpose of Nelson’s trip was to discuss trade and the impact on the U.S. economy due to the recent Brexit, as Nelsen is chairman of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee (ATAC), a national trade committee that offers information and advice about agricultural products and trade issues to the USDA Secretary of Agriculture and the U.S. Trade Representative. “People from across the country came, and we talked about trade subjects, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement and Britain’s separating itself from the EU,” said Nelsen. “It’s obvious that this upset everybody; Ambassador Michael Froman, United States Trade Representative (USTR) who advises the president on international trade and investment issues, said, “I know what I don’t know, and I don’t know a lot right now.”

Nelson explained, “We think [Brexit] will slow down the fresh fruit and vegetable sector, as well as the passage of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP). According to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, since the U.S. market share of agricultural products and food imported by the EU—the world’s largest importer in the category—is shrinking despite continued growth of the EU market, T-TIP negotiations offer a major opportunity to address unjustified tariff and non-tariff trade barriers to U.S. exports.

“Quite frankly,” Nelsen summarized, “we’re less than excited about [T-TIP] because it didn’t address the inherent problem that we have from competition: fresh fruit and vegetable producers in the EU get a direct subsidy and growers in the United States do not.”

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Some additional members of the ATAC for Trade in Fruits and Vegetables include:

  • Julie Adams, Almond Board of California
  • James R. Cranney, Jr., California Citrus Quality Council
  • Robert Guenther, United Fresh Produce Association
  • Richard Hudgins,
    California Canning Peach Association
  • Randy Hudson, National Pecan Growers Council
  • Marcy L. Martin, California Fresh Fruit Association
  • Matthew McInerney, Western Growers
  • Ken Melban, California Avocado Commission
  • Mike Montna, California Tomato Growers Association
  • Jim A. Zion,
    Meridian Growers, LLC

Winegrape Rootstock Trials

Winegrape Rootstock Trials for Pest Resistance and Vine Productivity

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Deputy Editor

Larry Bettiga, a viticulture farm advisor with UC Cooperative Extension, Monterey County, is working with county growers on winegrape rootstock trials to increase vine productivity.

“Several things have happened,” noted Bettiga,“we are replanting vineyards on former vineyard lands, where a build-up of soil pests already exists. Farmers used to grow a lot of beans and tomatoes in the Valley, so we’ve had a lot of root-knot nematode populations from past cropping patterns.”

“We’ve recently seen ring nematode populations developing at multiple vineyard sites,” Bettiga continued. “With the loss of more effective fumigants, and then the loss of post-plant-type nematicides, the use of nematode-resistant roots is becoming more critical to the success of replanting these vineyards. We have hopes that Andy Walker, a UC Davis viticulture professor and grape breeder, is going to supply us with some better options than we currently have.”

“We have a site where we are comparing five new rootstocks that were released from UC Davis with a number of our standard rootstocks. We are just starting that work, so obviously we have to look at them for several years to get a good feel for how those stalks will fit in comparison to what we are now using,” he noted.

Glenn County Farmer on Water Cutbacks for Rice, Nuts

John Garner farms rice and walnuts in Glenn County. Though he is busy harvesting both crops now, Garner says rice acreage was down due to water cutbacks and there was a problem getting the longer season rice varieties in the ground early enough.

“There were cutbacks due to the 75 percent water allocation. That amount of water sounds really good, but we were also unable to plant before May 1st. So, in essence, we were prevented from planting some of the longer-season rice because you have to get those varieties in by April 15th-20th,” said Garner.

Still, Garner said his rice harvest this week is going very well. “My walnut crop had an excellent spring for pollination and a good summer, supposedly a warmer summer. We didn’t have the high temperatures or real strong north winds, so the crop just flourished,” said Garner.

And while the 2013-2014 walnut crop is predicted to be a record, Garner questions how that can be true this year. “I have a good normal crop. There are areas in the state where walnut and almond production are off upwards of 30 percent, and I think that’s due to this drought, the water cutbacks and the lowering of the groundwater tables,” said Garner.

“We were fortunate in our areas because we didn’t have nearly their shortage in water . You win some years, and then you’re on the other end some years,” he said.