The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) unveiled the industry’s first online education center for training growers on the principles of Insect Resistance Management at Commodity Classic on March 3.

The Insect Resistance Management Learning Center (IRMLC) is a web-based tool developed by NCGA with the support of ABSTC, a coalition of the four leading agriculture biotechnology companies, in a proactive effort to address the need for standardized, comprehensive training on the principles of IRM.

NCGA President Dee Vaughan says the driving force behind the creation of the IRMLC was to be a steward of the technology. “Agriculture biotechnology is key piece of the value puzzle for agriculture in future but its availability depends on its management,” he said. “As an industry, we needed to step up and acknowledge the need to educate growers on the basic principles of Insect Resistance Management.”

In the evolution of agriculture biotechnology, the need for increased grower education has been elevated with the responsibility being placed squarely on the shoulders of the seed companies who sell the seed to the growers. Knowing that responsibility would be difficult for some seed companies to satisfy, the IRMLC was created and will be available free-of-charge on www.ncga.com. Organizations and companies also have the option of customizing the tool with the look and feel of their own Web site for distribution it to their customers.

The IRMLC provides corn growers access to training on several topics, including IRM, Compliance Assurance Program (CAP), Integrated Pest Management (IPM), Corn Borer, and Corn Rootworm. Within each section, users of the IRMLC must complete a series of questions to demonstrate their knowledge. Upon satisfactory completion, the user can print out a certificate of completion.

“The IRMLC will be a great tool for anyone who sells and services seed or provides information to the growers, such as universities and extensions,” Vaughan said. “The responsibility to understand the principles of IRM is ultimately with the grower but we all have a vested interest in its proper use. That’s why we’re launching the IRMLC.”