New plant health professional certificate program
Growers can earn a plant health professional certificate by taking greenhouse online courses administered through Michigan State University Extension and University of Florida.
Growers and technical staff in the greenhouse and controlled environment industry can gain a new qualification in plant health management. This brings together two award-winning online training programs offered by University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF IFAS) and Michigan State University Extension (MSU Extension).
Over 4,000 growers have already graduated from individual courses through the University of Florida IFAS Extension Greenhouse Training Online program and the MSU College of Knowledge. Now by passing five courses in plant health in these programs, growers can obtain a new certificate of completion that recognizes their training, skills and dedication, and helps them grow in their careers.
“We are developing a training curriculum for horticulture professionals already working in industry. Online works well for growers who are already living the ‘how to’ of horticulture but benefit from understanding the ‘why’ of their decision-making from the underlying science,” says Paul Fisher, professor and Extension specialist at UF IFAS.
Heidi Lindberg, greenhouse and nursery educator with MSU Extension, says, “The online floriculture College of Knowledge program has provided a broad audience from 39 countries and 46 states the introductory knowledge in greenhouse production. It has been very successful in training those new to the industry. It provides a great foundation that professionals can then use to build real-life experience.”
Saqib Mukhtar, the associate dean for Extension, Agriculture and Natural Resources at UF IFAS Extension, adds, “This program checks off several boxes for modern Extension. That includes English and Spanish language; online and available any time of day; collaboration by leading universities for national and international impact; and high-quality training by leading experts.”
How it will work
Growers must pass five of six courses, including Nutrient 1 (UF, Paul Fisher), Disease Management (UF, Carrie Harmon), Weed Management (UF, Chris Marble), Water Quality and Treatment (UF, Fisher and multi-state), Abiotic Disorders (MSU/University of Kentucky, Garrett Owen), and Biological Control (MSU/Kansas State University, Ray Cloyd).
Growers sign up for individual courses through the UF IFAS Greenhouse Training Online and the MSU College of Knowledge websites. They can then email email@example.com once five courses are successfully completed and obtain their certificate of completion at an annual graduation ceremony (the first graduates are expected in July 2023).
The MSU Extension College of Knowledge is supported by the USDA, Kansas State, MSU AgBioResearch, Project GREEEN, the Kee Kitayama Research Foundation, Kansas State University, University of Florida Miami-Dade County and the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture Food and Environment. The UF IFAS Greenhouse Training Online is supported by a grant from the American Floral Endowment and by the Floriculture Research Alliance (floriculturealliance.org).