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Purdue To Offer Online Course In 'Agronomy Essentials'

Purdue University's Department of Agronomy is offering a distance education course to give farmers and agribusiness professionals a comprehensive baseline understanding of agronomy and agronomic practices.

Agronomy Essentials aims to expand agribusiness professionals' knowledge of crop production to enhance communication and effectiveness with farmer clients. The inaugural course runs from Jan. 14 through April 8 and will be offered twice more in 2015.

The course was designed by Bruce Erickson, Purdue's agronomy education distance and outreach director, who teaches the course along with some of his colleagues. It includes six units with multiple modules taught with reading materials, graphics and recorded videos. A test at the end of each module will confirm comprehension and retention of the material.

"The business of growing crops has become increasingly complicated in recent years," Erickson said. "Agriculture is challenged with growing demands to increase production while minimizing the environmental impact. New technologies and a knowledge-based future will demand a more thorough understanding of the whole production system."

"This six-unit course will help anyone who needs a basic understanding of soils, crop nutrients, cropping systems, pest management, crop growth and development and diagnostics. Participants will gain an understanding of what issues farmers face and how to more effectively communicate with them. It will provide insight into potential threats to crops and how to overcome them."

The following are the focuses of the six units:

  • Understanding the land and field preparation.
  • Plant nutrition and soil fertility.
  • Crop and variety selection and planting.
  • Crop growth, development and diagnostics.
  • Crop protection and pest management.
  • Harvesting and marketing the crop.

Course content is organized within an online learning management system. Class participants successfully meeting course requirements will receive a certificate of completion.

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