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CCAs a 'risk management tool for farmers'

Agriculture.com Staff 05/01/2007 @ 12:57pm

Even as the flow of developing new technology continues to improve farm production, efficiency and profitability, one of the best assets a grower has today remains simple in-field, face-to-face meetings with his or her certified crop adviser (CCA).

Certified crop advisers are those agronomic consultants who have been accredited by the American Society of Agronomy (ASA) to work with farmers to address crop needs and problems. This accreditation, says ASA director of certification programs Luther Smith, means the advisers have met a strict set of guidelines.

"[CCAs] have passed two comprehensive exams covering nutrient management, soil and water management, integrated pest management and crop management," says Smith. "They are peer-reviewed by a local certifying board and are required to sign a code of ethics that includes they will only do what is in the best interests of their customers."

What does this mean for farmers? Working with CCAs, Smith says, provide the grower another risk management tool for his or her operation. Because of the thorough process for certification as a CCA, he says they are ethically bound to provide a high, consistent level of agronomic services.

"The CCA designation represents that the individual has met the standards set by the profession," Smith says. "The CCA has pledged to their very best through the code of ethics and if they don't, the farmer has recourse through the program."

One example of a CCA's work, Smith says, happened recently in South Carolina, where a certified adviser helped a soybean farmer reduce seed populations from 80 to 50 pounds per acre while still improving yields. The shift, Smith says, saved the grower around $24,000 -- in seed costs alone -- on his 2,000-acre farm.

Smith likens a CCA's training and certification to that for a medical professional. "A farmer should ask every agronomic adviser that walks on the farm if they are certified as a CCA," he says. "You would ask your doctor or nurse to be certified or licensed -- why not your agronomist?"

Click here to learn more about the ASA, how to become a CCA or find the CCA nearest you.

Even as the flow of developing new technology continues to improve farm production, efficiency and profitability, one of the best assets a grower has today remains simple in-field, face-to-face meetings with his or her certified crop adviser (CCA).

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