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turf hokie
11-04-2010, 12:40 PM
Hey guys,

Just wanted to voice a little frustration with NOFA and see what thoughts were out there.

I sent my main tech to get accredited in Feb 2010, cost 5 days of labor to send him. Plus $800 for the course and $300 for the test to become official. Then add in $100 per year so they can continue their good work.

Now I have to have him get an additional 4 credits by the end of December for 2011 renewal, soooo, I am looking at a full day course (8 hours) plus travel to get 4 credits for another $100 plus another $100 so they can continue their good work. Of course I could send him closer and go the Bronx Botanical Gardens but that would entail 4 - 2 hour nights + travel and $300+ for the course.

I ran into one bid that required NOFA accredidation but when I was the only one to have it, they rescinded that requirement. So the one time it was going to pay for itself, the opportunity got taken from me and I ended up losing the bid by 50%.

Honestly the organic customers we have could give a rat's arse that we are NOFA accredited and most dont even know what NOFA is.

Why is it so expensive and why do I need to have him go so often for credits, etc. it is easier to maintain my NY pesticide certification and cost just as much to get it. WTF?

Am I in a cult or what? is this worth it?

Thanks
Bryan

Kiril
11-04-2010, 12:51 PM
It's a scam, like most professional associations.

turf hokie
11-04-2010, 01:12 PM
That's it Kiril?

I dont think I have ever see such a short answer from you!!

I just cant figure it out. I dont seem to get anything out of any other association either but this one seemed to be setting standards with testing and courses etc that with the green movement it would be great to have some sort fo standard, but for the cost of it and what we are getting out of it...I think that it is not what I thought it was...

Kiril
11-04-2010, 01:21 PM
That's it Kiril?

I dont think I have ever see such a short answer from you!!

Yup ........ :laugh:

I just cant figure it out. I dont seem to get anything out of any other association either but this one seemed to be setting standards with testing and courses etc that with the green movement it would be great to have some sort fo standard, but for the cost of it and what we are getting out of it...I think that it is not what I thought it was...

It just increases your cost of doing business for little to no gain other than some letters you can add to your name. And for what? An "education" that barely qualifies as a review of the pertinent fields of study. No thanks.

phasthound
11-04-2010, 02:09 PM
Bryan,
Only you can decide if the investment is worth it for your company. Since you do work in Westchester NY and with schools, I think being NOFA accredited is a wise decision.

Kiril,
Your statement is ...................................................................
Well, you'll just have to read my mind.

Kiril
11-04-2010, 02:37 PM
Kiril,
Your statement is ...................................................................
Well, you'll just have to read my mind.

It's my opinion Barry .... and you don't have to agree with it, but at the very least you should respect my right to express it.

I am curious why you feel that landscapers should be NOFA certified. Landscaping has nothing to do with farming .... or perhaps I am missing something?

Now if you want an example of a accreditation program that has some weight, here you go.

http://www.abih.org/certified/applicants/documents/CERTIFICATIONREQUIREMENTSFORWEBSITE.pdf

phasthound
11-04-2010, 03:09 PM
It's my opinion Barry .... and you don't have to agree with it, but at the very least you should respect my right to express it.

I am curious why you feel that landscapers should be NOFA certified. Landscaping has nothing to do with farming .... or perhaps I am missing something?

Now if you want an example of a accreditation program that has some weight, here you go.

http://www.abih.org/certified/applicants/documents/CERTIFICATIONREQUIREMENTSFORWEBSITE.pdf

I respect your right to express your opinion. Just identify it as an opinion.

The accreditation program Bryan is referring to is offered by NOFA for Landcare Professionals. http://www.organiclandcare.net/

ICT Bill
11-04-2010, 06:02 PM
You could take Peter Schmidts compostwerks course it has 4 hours towards NOFA and its pretty close

I work in landscaping, sports turf and Golf the sports turf and golf guys are always working with each other sharing experiences about products and equipment, it doesn't seem to happen in landscaping (much) probably because you see each other as competition

I think one of the goals of NOFA (accredited landscape professional) was to have a group of folks that could share and raise the collective knowledge as well as having certain standards to base your program on. It does have certain standards but unfortunately the wealth of knowledge sharing idea has not worked very well

turf hokie
11-04-2010, 07:57 PM
Bryan,
Only you can decide if the investment is worth it for your company. Since you do work in Westchester NY and with schools, I think being NOFA accredited is a wise decision.

Kiril,
Your statement is ...................................................................
Well, you'll just have to read my mind.

I appreciate all the opinions, that was what I was looking for. And I agree that working in the areas that I work, I thought that NOFA would have carried more weight than it seems to.

Schools are tough in NY, the new laws that passed are going to have to have addendums added to them or we are just not going to be able to service them. The school budgets will not allow for us to follow the new laws as they are written. I will probably lose 3 sites if they are not altered by spring, with more to follow I am sure....I dont see how we can apply an federal exempt product only program and be able to maintain 2 acres of turf for the same or less than the IPM/bridge progam they are on, the math isnt there....

any way that was off topic.

It just seems that the benefits of being NOFA accredited are just not what I had percieved them as being.

I am considering cancelling all but the local memberships due to cost/benefit factors. It would save me almost 2000 a year on average. Not a small amount of money....

Maybe I will keep the accredidation for at least one more year and see how things play out with the new laws.

Sigh, I think Kiril may be on to something......

turf hokie
11-04-2010, 07:59 PM
You could take Peter Schmidts compostwerks course it has 4 hours towards NOFA and its pretty close

Is that the one in MA? that is not close. that is an overnite trip...

phasthound
11-05-2010, 12:13 AM
Is that the one in MA? that is not close. that is an overnite trip...

Yeah but Peter is pretty close to you, maybe you can work something out with him.

Kiril
11-05-2010, 10:43 AM
Sigh, I think Kiril may be on to something......

Unfortunately, everyone wants a piece of your pie, and by the time those people have taken their slice, there is very little left for you.

I am sure NOFA does some good work in other areas, I just don't buy into accreditation programs that are essentially nothing more than paying dues and taking a few "classes" in order to have some letters after your name.

americanlawn
11-05-2010, 07:38 PM
Kiril -- I agree buddy. Outfits like NOFA are typically formed by stay-at-home moms and others who don't work for a living. Most often, they have no interest whatsoever regarding new technology. For them, it's merely a "hobby" just to break up their boredom. Oddballs like them are usually the ones driving around & shopping at WalMart, etc while we are out "working for a living". These mucks are just plugging up traffic when I'm trying to earn a living. :hammerhead: Probably shopping for new bumper stickers that say "Hope and Change". :laugh::laugh::laugh:

Unfortunately, everyone wants a piece of your pie, and by the time those people have taken their slice, there is very little left for you.

I am sure NOFA does some good work in other areas, I just don't buy into accreditation programs that are essentially nothing more than paying dues and taking a few "classes" in order to have some letters after your name.

roccon31
11-05-2010, 09:38 PM
i am oalso on the fence about reaccreditation for the year. NOFA has gotten me some (very little) work, so to me it would be worth it. but there wasnt much that interested me for programs this year, and the ones that did were in CT, or some other new england state that required at least a 6-7 hour car ride plus hotel fare, etc. with the cost of fuel and travel these days, it would have cost me more to go to a nofa course this year than i have made from nofa in the past 2 years of being accredited.

now i do certainly consider the people and collective knowledge of nofa very valuable, but in the short term it just isnt worth it for me anymore. heck, in PA, nobody even knows nofa except the organic farmers i talk to, who cant afford my services anyway!

Tim Wilson
11-05-2010, 10:28 PM
Kiril -- I agree buddy. Outfits like NOFA are typically formed by stay-at-home moms and others who don't work for a living. Most often, they have no interest whatsoever regarding new technology. For them, it's merely a "hobby" just to break up their boredom. Oddballs like them are usually the ones driving around & shopping at WalMart, etc while we are out "working for a living". These mucks are just plugging up traffic when I'm trying to earn a living. :hammerhead: Probably shopping for new bumper stickers that say "Hope and Change". :laugh::laugh::laugh:

Hey Kiril, you redneck you. <extreme giggle>

Compostwerks LLC
11-06-2010, 01:26 PM
Hi all;

I wanted to jump in here to post some facts about NOFA and hopefully dispell some potential rumors.

Let's begin with cost; (seems like the biggest issue on the thread).
Complete cost of accreditation is $700.00 which includes the cost of the exam. There is no processing fee. There are discounts if you choose to enroll prior to December 18th. Please note that this is a one time cost. Additional discounts apply if you are a current member. Yes yearly membership dues apply. All organizations have them. This helps to cover administrative costs. It costs $100.00 per year.

CEU's (credits); Again, I know of no organization that doesn't require them. A very small percentage of the certified credit opportunites are actually sposored by NOFA. Most are independenty hosted. There are some couses which are completely free. Most of the more technical courses cost roughly $35.00 per hour. There are credit oportunites (http://www.organiclandcare.net/calendar/credit-opportunities) all over the place, no need to travel far.

So summing up, becoming a NOFA AOLCP has a start up cost of $700.00 and roughly $250.00 per year to keep it going. That's a marked departure from the claim at the opening of this tread.

Standards of the program can be read here (http://www.organiclandcare.net/sites/default/files/upload/NOFA_Standards_4th_ed_2009.pdf).

Marketing wise, it's all about the return on your investment. I respect that completely. Bryan, I see on your website (nice website!) that there is no mention your business having NOFA AOLCP's. You have done an awesome job posting on your Facebook page, but again, no mention of NOFA. I would suggest plastering you accreditation through NOFA (your investment) on every shred of marketing material you have. I'm happy to email the logo files to you. Roccon too....don't see it on your website either. Let me know. I'm happy to help.

I'm on the NOFA OLC Commitee. Everyone volunteers their time with the exception of Bill Deusing and an admin team. You can have my complete assurance that there are no armchair leaders, bored moms or slackers. Why do we do it? Simple; To get the word out to as many landscape professionals as possible so they're prepared to deliver organic services to their customers. We are making a big push to reach land owners and general public who are interested in eliminating pesticides. Being accredited is a direct pathway to those potential customers.

Cult? I've been known to drink cool aid now and again, but I'm no cult member! :nono:

Oddball? Sometimes! :hammerhead:

Thank you all for your openness.

Peter

Kiril
11-06-2010, 01:42 PM
Complete cost of accreditation is $700.00 which includes the cost of the exam.

You are forced to pay for the courses, even if you don't need them. In my eyes, it would be more beneficial to landscapers if NOFA would offer a test only option at a substantially reduced startup cost for those who are already educated, or who wish to educate themselves.

CEU's (credits); Again, I know of no organization that doesn't require them. A very small percentage of the certified credit opportunites are actually sposored by NOFA. Most are independenty hosted. There are some couses which are completely free. Most of the more technical courses cost roughly $35.00 per hour. There are credit oportunites (http://www.organiclandcare.net/calendar/credit-opportunities) all over the place, no need to travel far.

Why not offer other options, like allowing people to fill CEU's from local colleges/universities, or online courses?

phasthound
11-06-2010, 07:09 PM
Why not offer other options, like allowing people to fill CEU's from local colleges/universities, or online courses?

They do allow this option. I have sponsored NOFA approved classes. Rutgers is holding one in 2011 that should be approved. It costs money to hold these classes and the information provided is worth money, therefor there are fees for these classes.

I have some disagreements with some of NOFA's ideas, but I also think they have a great deal to offer. I know of no other group in the northeast that provides this type of education to the landscape industry as thoroughly and consistently as they do.

Kiril, feel free to contact them with your ideas on how they might improve their services and outreach.

Kiril
11-06-2010, 11:19 PM
They do allow this option. I have sponsored NOFA approved classes. Rutgers is holding one in 2011 that should be approved. It costs money to hold these classes and the information provided is worth money, therefor there are fees for these classes.

That is not what I was really talking about. I quickly read through the CEU stuff this morning and from what I saw, anything that has not been approved, is not allow for use as CEU units until it goes through the whole process of approval. What I am suggesting is a list of courses that just about any college/university offers that will satisfy the CEU requirement, without having to go though this approval process.

Furthermore, the whole not allowing CEU for course work that covers (promotes) prohibitive materials is extremely short sited IMO. A course in conventional fertilizers could be construed as "promoting" their use, however any organic practitioner should be aware of how they work and the impacts they can have.

Kiril, feel free to contact them with your ideas on how they might improve their services and outreach.

It is unlikely they give a rats ass what some guy in CA thinks, nor is it likely they will even consider a test only option, too much money at stake.

turf hokie
11-06-2010, 11:41 PM
Peter

Thank for jumping in. I checked my files, (should have when I first posted) you are correct on the testing cost. For me to send my tech, it cost me $700 for the course and test + $100 for membership, total fees, $800 according to the invoice I have.

But.....I had to pay my tech for the week to go and take the test plus, all expenses associated with traveling each day, granted it was in Tarrytown (30 minutes away) but it is still a bridge toll and fuel. So the cost to me to get one of my guys accredited was $800+50 hours labor + fuel and tolls.....now I am looking at $100-300 for 4 credits+ 10+ hours labor + fuel and tolls + my annual $100 membership....

The CEU's I disagree with you, unless I am not seeing the courses you are refering to. It seems that the courses for $35/hr are at least 2+ hours away, the ones at the Bronx Botanical Gardens which is closer are multiple nights and 75+/hr along with multiple tolls etc away.

Please help me out in finding a course that will allow my tech to continue being accredited and not cost me too terribly.

Also, I have to update my website, I have not done so in almost 2 years, so it pre-dates our NOFA affiliation. My facebook page, is better, it has a logo in the "affiliations" picture album, I could have sworn I had it on the wall at some point, I will change that tomorrow..so thank you for checking it out and bringing that to my attention.

Please feel free to contact me by pm or at my email bryan@mywebsitelistedbelow.com

Bryan

Keegan
11-08-2010, 01:55 PM
I agree $800 is a lot of money. I paid $500 with the exam 6 or 7 years ago and I thought that was a lot. I have gotten a few jobs from them, but I am in their backyard and the extreme crunchy people know all about them. They offer what they call intensive clases for $200. Again, I think too high. They do offer credit courses which a lot do cost money and they have courses within a trade show but you need to pay for the show to take the courses.
I need to re evaluate joining again.