CCA consultants are trained to offer accurate crop advice
By ASHLEY BECHMAN
There are many acronyms in agriculture. Some of the more popular ones include FSA, for Farm Service Agency; ISDA, for Indiana State Department of Agriculture; and USDA. Another acronym in agriculture today is CCA, which stands for Certified Crop Adviser.
• Certified crop advisers continuouslyupdate their knowledge base.
• Farmers often want a trusted and independent opinion.
• Website can help you begin your search to find a CCA.
“The CCA program was formed because of the lack of organization that existed for people who worked directly with farmers,” says Steve Dlugosz, who sells fertilizer for Harvest Land Co-op.
From the start in 1992, Dlugosz was involved on steering committees that helped research the importance of a state society that would directly work with growers.
“Around this time different states were all coming up with the idea that there should be an organization that helped agronomists working with growers,” he explains. “That’s why there’s a national component and a state component in our CCA program.”
According to the Indiana Certified Crop Adviser website, www.indianacca.org/About, CCAs will play an important role in keeping agriculture competitive in our global economy.
“The CCA program was established to give people in fertilizer retail, seed retail and other positions the opportunity to prove their credentials, that they are technically skilled, and why they would be the best fit for a certain farmer,” says Dlugosz.
“This program is great for anyone working with growers, seed salesmen, Extension educators, ag retailers and farmers,” says Betsy Bower, a CCA and agronomist for Ceres Solutions, Terre Haute. “I’ve been able to use my certification while working with all types of organizations.”
Standards include taking a comprehensive exam, understanding soil and water issues, integrated pest and crop management, along with completing 40 hours of continuing education credits in a two-year span. Credits can be earned by attending accredited meetings or field days.
“One of the biggest strengths of our organization is our continuing education program for our CCAs,” Dlugosz says.
What farmers say
Don Villwock, Edwardsport, farms 3,500 acres. He’s had a CCA helping him since 1995.
“My CCA serves as an independent evaluator of problems that may arise,” he says. “Take for example if a fertilizer dealer ran some tests, and I was curious on whether or not he was selling me the right [fertilizer]. My CCA would be the underlying voice I would trust to give me the best solution on whether or not it was a good deal.”
Another benefit is that since he’s busy serving as president of Indiana Farm Bureau, he doesn’t always have time to attend all agronomy meetings and field days. However, his CCA, Gene Flaningam, is always up on the latest trends.
Bechman is a senior in Purdue University Ag Communications.
3 easy steps to find a CCA online
Step One: Go to the International Certified Crop Adviser website at www.certifiedcropadviser.org. Locate “Find a CCA” on the right side.
Step Two: There are several questions you can answer to help determine which CCAs will be most suitable.
Step Three: Click “Search” and a list of CCAs will appear. Click on individual names to learn more.
This article published in the January, 2011 edition of INDIANA PRAIRIE FARMER.
All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2011.