Now you can bone up on some new production or marketing wisdom by signing up for a distance learning course at Norman Borlaug University (NBU).

Starting in January, NBU, an Internet-based life-long learning company for agriculture, will begin offering courses via the Internet, according to nobel laureate Norman Borlaug.

NBU has developed contractual agreements with most land-grant universities to provide course content and instruction. It will also continue to contract with companies and industry leaders.

A list of courses, along with enrollment information, is available online at www.nbulearn.com.

Initially, six courses will be offered, says Earl Ainsworth, CEO of the new company. More courses will be added throughout the year.

Tuition for each course will vary depending on its nature and complexity. Tuition and fees will be comparable, however, to those of facilities-based universities.

"NBU does not seek accreditation or to otherwise compete with the land-grant universities and other providers of education," says Ainsworth. "Instead, NBU's core competency is making courses Internet-ready to extend the reach of current educational institutions."

In July of this year, DuPont Crop Protection provided first-round funding for the launch of the new e-learning company. NBU is in discussion with other major funding sources, too.