- Designed For
- New and established blueberry growers; small-to-large sized farms; conventional and organic producers. The course is focused on the Pacific Northwestern USA but much of the information should be applicable to many suitable production regions worldwide.
- January 26 - March 12, 2018
- Registration opens October 18.
- On-line instructor led. Lead instructor: Dr. Bernadine Strik, Professor of Horticulture and Extension Berry Crops Specialist
- $995 plus $60 non-refundable registration fee.
- Additionally, there are a limited number of scholarships available for the class. Download the Scholarship Application to get started.
- 18 to 25 hours of student time over 6 weeks
- 2.0 Units / 20 CEUs through the American Society of Agronomy
- Complete the program and you'll earn a digital badge, which you can show off as an industry-leading credential!
Learn the fundamentals of blueberry plant physiology and growth, species and types grown and cultivar adaptation, planting establishment, production systems, and important pests to develop successful new plantings or improve the yield and production efficiency of existing planting in this online, instructor-led certificate program offered by Professional and Continuing Education at Oregon State University.
Within a collaborative, research- and experience-based curriculum and interaction with the instructor and peers through a discussion board, you will finish the course with a comprehensive knowledge of growing thriving bushes.
The course is designed to start with development of an in-depth knowledge of blueberry plant physiology and how to grow a blueberry bush, boosting your understanding of how plants will respond to weather/climate, pests, and production practices.
Each subsequent week we will build upon this information to provide practical knowledge on blueberry cultivars, planting design, establishment, production systems, pruning, and pests. You will engage with the instructor(s) and peers through the discussion board.
The target audience for this course is growers of small- to large-sized conventional or organic farms, crew leaders, farm managers, advisors, packers, shippers, and consultants.
The course is designed such that those new or well-versed in blueberry production will benefit. You will access 3 to 4 hours of lectures per week in this 6week course. A new set of lectures will be available each week.
In addition to completing the course and interacting with peers and the instructors on a discussion board, you will need to complete one or more quizzes per week to receive your certificate of completion.
Additionally, there are a limited number of scholarships available for the class. Download the Scholarship Application to get started. You will be asked to submit the completed scholarship application form in the online registration form.
“As a new grower of Northern Highbush with just some limited knowledge of Southern Highbush, I was looking for a course to broaden my knowledge base. Throughout the 6 weeks of this course, I was able to attain some of the most basic of skills, to the more in-depth aspects of having a successful blueberry operation. I will highly recommend this course to my employees and new growers coming into the industry!”
- Phil Jennings (Georgia)
“My first job in 1963 was picking Blueberries on a blueberry farm in Bellevue, WA. I worked my way through college with this job. Now having recently purchased a small blueberry farm this course has provided me with the knowledge to begin successfully operating this farm. A lot has changed since then and this course has been invaluable to me.”
- Jim Stanton, Nooksack Blueberries (Washington)
What You'll Learn
- Blueberry plant physiology and how they grow
- Blueberry species & types and where different cultivars are adapted
- Site selection and preparation
- Planting design for hand and machine harvest
- Irrigation system design and management
- Organic amendments - the good and the bad
- Mulches and impacts on weed management
- Nutrient management before and after planting
- Pruning from planting through maturity, considering harvest method and cultivar differences (videos will be used to highlight pruning plants of different ages and cultivars)
- Methods of fruit harvesting
- Physiological problems
- Insects, diseases nematodes, and viruses - symptoms, life cycles, and tools for pest management
Dr. Bernadine Strik, the lead instructor, is a Professor of horticulture and Extension Berry Crops Specialist at OSU and the Berry Crops Research Leader at the North Willamette Research and Extension Center. She has over 29 years of experience in research, teaching, and grower education at OSU and has served as an international berry crops consultant for more than 16 years. Her research areas of focus include whole plant physiology, improving yield and quality, machine harvest efficiency, pruning, optimization of production systems, plant nutrition, and organic production systems in all berry crops. Bernadine belongs to many professional organizations and holds or has held many leadership positions. She has published over 200 scientific papers and many Extension materials and book chapters on berry crop production and physiology. Her educational and research programs are world renowned and she has received many awards for her achievements. Bernadine was elected a Fellow of the American Society for Horticultural Science, their highest honor, in 2007 and in 2014 she received the OSU Alumni Association Distinguished Professor Award.
Dr. Chad Finn is a berry crop breeder at the USDA-ARS Horticultural Crops Research Unit (HCRU) in Corvallis, OR since 1993. The berry crop breeding program has been run collaboratively with OSU for over 100 years and has focused on developing berry crop cultivars for the Pacific Northwest industry; collecting, evaluating, and incorporating new useful germplasm from around the world into our breeding material; and working with genomicists to develop tools that will enhance the efficiency of the breeding program. Chad has released many commercial blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, and strawberry cultivars and has published over 200 research publications along with 30 book chapters and 38 extension publications. Chad received Purdue University’s Department of Horticulture Distinguished Alumni Award in 2006; received the USDA-ARS’s National award for Superior Technology Transfer in 2009; was elected an ASHS Fellow in 2010; received ASHS’s Outstanding Cultivar Award in 2012; and was awarded the American Pomological Society’s Wilder Medal Award for outstanding service to horticulture in 2013.
Dr. David Bryla is a Research Horticulturist at the USDA-ARS HCRU. He has over 25 years of experience in plant nutrition and water relations and has conducted studies on many different crops, including apples, peaches, citrus, tomatoes, lettuce, broccoli, peppers, onions, garlic, safflower, and wheat. His current research is focused on the water management of berry crops for irrigation, fertigation, frost protection, and evaporative cooling. He engages with stakeholders from the small fruit industry, as well as with the irrigation and fertilizer industries.
Dr. Walton works on economically important pests, with the aim to provide environmentally sustainable and minimal impact pest management strategies for agriculturalists. We use multiple techniques in a whole-system approach to obtain sustainable means of production.
In order to obtain this goal, new knowledge obtained from detailed insect physiological, biological, behavioral, ecological and environmental studies are used. This knowledge is then used to apply treatments timed to occur during periods when pests are at their most vulnerable. These control strategies have historically focused on biological control, mating disruption and conventional synthetic pesticides.
Jay W. Pscheidt received his Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1985. Since 1988 he has been a professor at Oregon State University as an Extension Plant Pathology Specialist. His principal duties are to lead a statewide extension program related to the diagnosis and management of diseases of all fruit, nut, and ornamental/nursery crops. He is also co-editor of regional publication The Pacific Northwest Plant Disease Management Handbook.
“I am somewhat an experienced grower in a remote location away from most field days and seminars. I do travel to blueberry conferences when time allows as well as pruning seminars, etc. This course was one of the better investments I have made recently to improve my knowledge of all aspects involving blueberry production, disease, water management, site selection and fertility. I would highly recommend this course to anyone currently farming blueberries or one who might have any interest in blueberries. Great course.”
- Gary Middleton, Middleton Organic Orchards (Washington)
“I am a new grower in Drain, OR, and highly recommend this course to everyone interested in becoming a blueberry farmer. I believe even an experienced grower could derive useful information from this series of lectures. It contains valuable information on selecting cultivars, and planting and maintaining a healthy, productive farm. The lectures are informative and well presented. I am so glad I decided to take this course – I have learned so much! Well worth the time and cost!”
- Paula Estill, Estill Farms (Oregon)
“A very well developed course, extremely happy to be able to participate!! Easy, clear, well explained and presented!!”
- Emiliyan Atanasov (a new grower, England)
"Not only is the platform (PACE) used to deliver the course very good but the course material is incredibly interesting, comprehensive and up to date."
- Pam Fisher (Ontario, Canada)
“The course provided a well-rounded and balanced overview on key aspects of highbush blueberry production.”
- Lisa Wasko DeVetter (Assistant Professor, Berry Crops, Washington State University)
"I really appreciated this course and all the new things I learned. I hope that this class will help me better communicate with the people I manage why we take specific actions on the farm. I enjoyed all the different guest lecturers and all the research that was presented. I am going to encourage more people I work with to take this course when it is offered again."
- Rob Bodtke (Michigan)
- I’ve never taken an online class before. Are there going to be any online/virtual sessions with the professor?
The course is all pre-recorded. There are no live sessions because of the vastly different locations and time zones of the participants. The course is mostly watching and listening to content and taking online quizzes as you go along to make sure you’re understanding the material. There is also a discussion board where you can interact with the instructor and fellow classmates.
- How does the class work?
The class is designed in 6 weekly Modules. Each Module contains lecture materials, a discussion page, and a quiz. The lectures are PowerPoint videos with voiceover by one of the class instructors. Each week has about 3.5 hours of lecture divided into 8 to 10 mini lectures from 15 to 35 minutes each. The discussion page is a place for you to ask questions about the week’s material and interact with the instructors and other students if you wish. At the end of each week is a short quiz designed to make sure you are progressing through the course and to give yourself a self-check on where you are in your learning. You can take the quizzes as many times as you like. Your final average quiz score needs to be 70% or higher in order to receive your digital badge, certificate of completion, or any continuing education credits towards a crop advisor certification.
- When do the Modules open?
Each Module opens on a Friday. This allows those who only have time for the course on the weekends to not be perpetually behind. We encourage you to stay up to date with the class material!
- What if I need to miss a week or get behind?
While the course is designed to be completed in weekly portions, we understand that life sometimes gets in the way. While it is possible to make up time in the course, it will be much easier if you can complete each weekly Module the week it is assigned. If you get to Week 6 and realize you are three weeks behind, you are looking at over 10 hours of lecture to watch that week.
- Will I have access to the course material after the course officially ends?
You will not be able to access the course in Canvas after the official end date. However, you can download and save some of the course material. All of the lectures are accompanied by PDF handouts, which can be saved or printed for later reference. Unfortunately, we cannot make the lecture videos available for you to download or save. The videos took considerable time and effort to prepare and if they were to end up on YouTube we would lose our market for new students and be unable to easily provide up-to-date materials.
- Is this course available to those living outside of Oregon?
Yes, it is available to students worldwide. The content focuses on the Pacific Northwest region of the United States, but much of the information presented is applicable to other regions of the country and the world.
- Are there exams, quizzes, or homework for this course?
There are no exams or homework in this course. There are weekly multiple choice quizzes designed for you to check your own knowledge. The quizzes are not timed and you can take them as many times as you like to get full credit, although only 70% is needed to receive your digital badge, certificate of completion, or any continuing education credits towards a crop advisor certification. There is also an optional discussion bard.
- What internet speed do I need?
The lectures in this course are optimized for a computer with a high-speed, broadband internet connection that can stream large, high quality videos. Videos may take a long time to load with slower internet connections. The course will not run on dial-up, or slower speed Ethernet or satellite connections. If high-speed internet access is an issue, we recommend you consider taking the course at your public library or other locations with high-speed internet.
- What devices can I use?
Desktop and laptop computers seem to work best. If you would like to try using a smartphone or tablet to watch the lectures, you will need to download a browser that supports Flash, such as Puffin. Unfortunately, the lecture videos will not play in the Canvas app, Chrome, or Safari on a mobile device.
- Why can’t I access the next week’s material on Canvas?
All of the Modules are set to open on Fridays. In the lower right hand corner of the module there will be text showing when the Module will unlock. First make sure the Module is unlocked. You will then need to make sure you have completed all of the prerequisites (from prior weeks) to begin the Module. The Modules must be completed in sequential order. For example, in order to view Week 2, you must have completed the entire Week 1 Module.
- Once I’m enrolled, how do I login to the course?
When your payment has been received and you have been approved, you will receive a confirmation email from OSU PACE. This email will include a link to the PACE course system and detailed information about how to log in and get started.
- How much of my money do I get back if I withdraw from the class?
To receive a 100% refund (minus the nonrefundable registration fee) you must send a written request to withdraw 14 days before the first day of class. There is no refund for withdrawals on or after the first day of class. All refund requests must be sent to email@example.com.
- If I want to withdraw from this course and take it at a later session, what do I need to do?
If you decide to withdraw from the course after it has started and want to take it during a later session, then a $60 transfer fee will be applied. After 12:00am (PST) on Day 15 of the course (the first day of the course is considered Day 1) you will not be able to withdraw and be transferred to a new term. Once you have resolved the $60 fee, we can then move you to the next available course offering.
- What if my question is not here?
For general questions about enrollment, contact OSU Professional and Continuing Education (PACE): 541-737-4197 or fill out the Information Request Form below.