Kearney News Updates
We are in the midst of a new and changing era of Worker Protection Standards (WPS). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) recently published the revised WPS, which is meant to increase protections for agricultural fieldworkers and pesticide handlers from pesticide exposure when they're working in farms, forests, nurseries and greenhouses. The changes are already affecting California agriculture!
What major regulatory changes have already gone into effect?
Several changes are required to have been in place as of January 2, 2017. These include:
- All 417,000 fieldworkers in California must attend annual pesticide safety training.
- Records of all fieldworker pesticide safety trainings must be kept on file for 2 years.
- Fields must be posted when the restricted entry interval (REI) exceeds 48 hours.
- “Application-exclusion zones” must be implemented to prevent the entry of anyone into areas up to 100 feet from pesticide application equipment.
- Instructors previously qualified via a DPR-approved Instructor Training programs (Train the Trainer) are qualified to train through 2017. If you wish to be qualified to train fieldworkers and handlers after December 31, 2017 using this qualification, you must complete an updated, DPR-approved Train the Trainer workshop.
Now is the time to make sure these changes are put in place!
What major regulatory changes are still in store for us? When will they happen?
The regulatory changes that must be in place by January 2, 2018 include:
- Additional training topics for fieldworkers and handlers have to be added to the curriculum.
- Handlers have to suspend an application if anyone enters the application exclusion zone.
Who do these changes affect?
Many people who work in the California agricultural community will be impacted by the WPS revisions. These include fieldworkers, pesticide handlers, farm labor contractors, private and in-house safety trainers, growers, farm managers, licensed pesticide applicators (private and commercial), pest control advisors (PCAs), and crop consultants, to name a few.
How do I know if I am qualified to train?
If you attended one of the DPR-approved Train-the-Trainer programs you are qualified through 2017. However, if you wish to continue training after the end of the year, you must complete a DPR-approved Instructor Training Program, which includes the 2018 training topic requirements.
If you maintain certain licenses/government designations, including PAC, QAC, QAL, PCA, and certain County Biologist licenses you are qualified to train. UCCE Advisors are also qualified to train.
How can I get qualified as a trainer?
To become a trainer, take an Instructor Training program that is approved by DPR for 2018 topics. The University of California Pesticide Safety Education Program (part of the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program, UC IPM), in partnership with AgSafe, will offer multiple workshops this spring that cover the new federal requirements for fieldworker and handler training. You can reserve your spot now. At the end of the training you will be a certified pesticide safety instructor.
If I am currently qualified, how can I make sure I stay up to date on all the new requirements?
If you are currently qualified as a trainer because you maintain a California PAC, QAC, or QAL, or if you are a PCA, you can attend an Instructor Training Program this spring to learn about the new WPS requirements and additional training topics. While a certification may qualify you, an Instructor Training Program will prepare you to train! Register today!
On January 2nd, 2017, abc 30 news aired a story on the 50 year old tea plants at UC ANR Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center. When the 1967 20-yr long Lipton tea project ended, some of the top two cultivars were kept in the general landscaping. The Global Tea Initiative at UC Davis learned that the tea plants survived for fifty years without any special treatment. The initiative plans to do some studies on these plants.
Parlier students explore applied agriculture and natural resources research careers by visiting Kearney
Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center is providing tours and workshops for Parlier's 4th grade, middle school and high school students. As part of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR), Kearney supports programs that focus on five strategic initiatives:
- sustainable natural ecosystems
- healthy families and communities
- sustainable food systems
- endemic and invasive plants and diseases
- water quality, quantity and security
Students are provided with a tour of research as well as workshops that allow them to relate how applied ANR research impacts them. These field trips also increase student awareness of potential careers in the local area.
Parlier Unified School District's career technical education coordinator, Mr. Rafael Iniguez, is helping PUSD's efforts to expand agricultural career awareness among Parlier's students. Parlier Jr. High School has Ag. classes, and there are three Agriculture career pathways at Parlier High School: Ag. Mechanics, Ag. Plant Science, and Ag. Science. A Reedley Exponent article indicated that about 45% of Parlier's 800 high school students are in the Ag career pathways.
Alireza Pourreza, a newly appointed UC Cooperative Extension agricultural engineering advisor at Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension center, has been awarded the 2016 Giuseppe Pellizzi Prize by the Club of Bologna, an honor presented every other year to the best doctoral dissertations focused on agricultural machinery and mechanization. The Club of Bologna is a world taskforce on strategies for the development of agricultural mechanization.
Pourreza, who earned his Ph.D. at the University of Florida in 2014, worked on early detection of Huanglongbing (HLB) disease of citrus. HLB, an incurable disease that is spread by Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), has seriously impacted citrus production in Florida. The disease has been found in commercial and residential sites in all counties with commercial citrus. Read more.
Do you need some more laws and regulations continuing education units for your license renewal? A new online course from UC IPM can help you get those units as well as help growers prevent illegal pesticide residues.
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) runs the most extensive Pesticide Residue Monitoring Program in the nation and is hard at work ensuring that the fruit and vegetables we purchase and consume are free from illegal pesticide residues. Just last month, DPR detected residues of a pesticide not registered for use on grapes and fined the grower $10,000 for using a pesticide in violation of the label and for packing and attempting to sell the tainted produce.
Cases like this are rare in California but remind growers how important it is to apply pesticides correctly by following all pesticide label directions. Understanding and following label instructions is the focus of a new online course developed by the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program (UC IPM).
Proper Pesticide Use to Avoid Illegal Residues is targeted to those who apply pesticides or make pesticide recommendations. It explains what pesticide residues are, how they are monitored, and highlights important residue-related information from several sections of pesticide labels. In addition, the course identifies the following as the most important factors leading to illegal residues:
- Using a pesticide on a crop or against a pest for which it is not registered
- Applying pesticides at an incorrect rate
- Ignoring preharvest intervals, re-treatment intervals, or plantback restrictions
Course participants are presented with several real-life scenarios. They must search through actual pesticide labels to determine if the scenario illustrates proper use of pesticides or if the described situation could potentially lead to illegal residues.
The overall goal of this course is to have participants follow pesticide label instructions when they return to the field. Following the label can eliminate incidences of illegal pesticide use.
Proper Pesticide Use to Avoid Illegal Residues is published just in time for pest control advisers and pesticide applicators who are still a few units short to renew their licenses or certificates with DPR. The course has been approved for 2 hours of Pesticide Laws and Regulations continuing education units (CEUs) from DPR and costs $40. If you don't need CEUs, but are still interested in viewing the course content, check it out for free on YouTube.
DPR recommends that renewal packets be submitted before November 1 in order to receive your renewed license or certificate by December 31, as the processing time can take up to 60 days. For additional online courses that UC IPM offers, visit the online training page.