ADA, Ohio -- Scientists and federal officials are always on the lookout for exotic or locally occurring high-risk pests that could spell trouble for the nation's crops and landscape plants, said Nancy Taylor, director of Ohio State University's Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic.
But almost always, it's a lay person -- "the boots on the ground" -- who first spots such a pest, she said. That's why First Detector Training offered by the National Plant Diagnostic Network is so important. And now, online training is available for anyone interested in becoming a certified First Detector.
Taylor and colleague Bridgette Meiring will discuss the online training at the 2011 Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference. The conference will be held Feb. 24-25 at the McIntosh Center of Ohio Northern University in Ada. Early registration (before Feb. 15) is $50 for one day or $70 for both days. More information and registration materials are available at http://ctc.osu.edu.
"The First Detector Training program acts as a link between the people on the ground and the professionals in the labs and the regulators on the federal level -- it's a network that connects all three," Taylor said. "There are never enough inspectors to do what needs to be done. First Detectors can be an integral part of the network."
During their presentation, Taylor and Meiring will provide an update on high-risk and high-consequence pests of concern to Ohio and surrounding states. They'll also inform participants how to sign up to take First Detector training online on the network's training site, http://cbc.at.ufl.edu/, and will review what is included in the modules. After successfully completing training, those choosing to register as First Detectors will receive a certificate of completion, which can be used to earn continuing education credits, Taylor said.
The Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference is the largest, most comprehensive program of conservation tillage techniques in the Midwest. About 60 presenters (farmers, industry professionals and university specialists) from around the country focus on cost-saving production management topics. The conference is broken down into tracks covering soil and water, nutrient and manure management, advanced scouting techniques, cover crops, crop management, and planters and precision agriculture.
Sponsors of the conference include OSU Extension, OARDC, Northwest Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Districts, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA Farm Service Agency, and the Ohio No-Till Council.