REACHING NEW EXTENSION AUDIENCES THROUGH RECERTIFICATION PROGRAMS

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  • 1 Dade Co. Coop. Ext. Serv., 18710 SW 288 St., Homestead, FL 33030 and Pesticide Information Office, U. of Fla., Bldg. 847, Gainesville, FL 32611

Ten percent (10%) of all restricted use pesticide (RUP) applicators certified by the Fla. Dept. of Agric. & Consumer Serv. (FDACS) reside in Dade County, Florida. Through a joint agreement, the Fla. Cooperative Extension Service (FCES) provides training and testing and FDACS issues private, public and commercial RUP licenses. In 1991, the Dade County Pesticide Trainer analyzed licensing patterns for Dade County's 1454 applicators to determine training needs. She developed a Pesticide Advisory Committee which prioritized 3 of the 14 categories of licenses--Aquatics (weed control), Ornamental & Turf (O&T), and Right-of-Way--for initial certification and recertification classes. It also coordinates programs to reduce duplicated efforts. During 1991, training for initial certification was offered once for Aquatics and twice for O&T. Classes for 1992 have been expanded, placing emphasis on recertification as well. Programs for recertification credits are an ideal way for the extension service to promote sound horticultural management practices which may be new to many commercial and public applicators since they are not part of traditional extension clientele groups.

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