As Illinois agriculture works to educate farmers about minimizing environmental impact and optimizing the use of ag nutrients, Illinois now leads the nation in the number of Certified Crop Advisers (CCA) who are trained to educate farmers as “4R Nutrient Management Specialists” (4R NMS). There are 100 4R Nutrient Management Specialists nationwide, nearly half of whom are from Illinois.
“Illinois CCAs and ag retailers have aggressively taken on the challenge of reducing nutrient losses and continue to demonstrate that commitment in their daily work. The training, exams and required continuing education units to remain certified is all done voluntarily and supported financially by these individuals and their employers” said Tom Kelley, Chairman of the Illinois CCA Board. “It’s an impressive thing our industry is doing, and we know that Illinois agriculture as a whole will benefit from this vital education and leadership effort” he added.
The special exam developed by the American Society of Agronomy was first offered in August 2015 and a second time in February of this year.
The 4R program stands for “Right Source, Right Rate, Right Time and Right Place.” By achieving certification in the 4Rs, crop advisers are taking a significant step to demonstrate their competence in specialized nutrient, soil and water management. These key learnings will be shared with thousands of farmers in Illinois who seek advice and recommendations from their fertilizer suppliers and advisers.
This is critical as Illinois agriculture strives to make measureable progress in reducing nutrient losses to Illinois rivers, lakes and streams and to the Gulf of Mexico by the year 2025.
In addition to these newly certified 4R specialists, more than 100 ag retailers, crop advisers and agribusiness employees have taken the Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association’s “4R Code of Practice Pledge” which signifies they are committed to educating their customers and making nutrient recommendations that will reduce nutrient losses. The pledge includes considerations such as not spreading fertilizer on frozen or snow covered ground, split applying nitrogen, following soil temperature guidelines, stabilizing all fall applied nitrogen and assisting in on-farm research to improve Illinois’ nutrient recommendations and nutrient management efforts statewide.
The Illinois Nutrient Research and Education Council (NREC) provided a grant to the IL CCA program and IFCA to facilitate training classes to help CCAs prepare for the 4R exam. Additional training will be offered in 2016, and the 4R exam will be offered two times a year. This assures that more CCAs will have the ability to study and take the exam, and will increase the number of 4R Nutrient Management Specialists in Illinois.
The list of the 4R Nutrient Management Specialists certified in Illinois is as follows:
• Damian Adams, Herscher, IL
• Alan Alderks, Monroe Center, IL
• Josh Allen, Auburn, IL
• Dominic Anthony Antonacci Jr., Breese, IL
• Verne Bader, Meredosia, IL
• Mark Bauman, Irving, IL
• Jeffrey E. Brown, Sidell, IL
• Matthew Campbell, Decatur, IL
• Kenneth Ferrie, Heyworth, IL
• Isaac Ferrie, Heyworth, IL
• Seth Geisler, Mount Sterling, IL
• Will Glazik, Roberts, IL
• Paul Gordon, Bentonville, IN
• John Grandin, State Center, IA
• Aaron Grote, Cerro Gordo, IL
• Clay Harper, Bloomington, IL
• Brian Henze, Shelbyville, IL
• Thomas Hill, Athens, IL
• Ted Huber, Windsor, IL
• Gregory Ikins, Crescent City, IL
• Scott Lagger, Lockport, IL
• Tim Luthy, Rushville, IL
• Kyle Meece, Monticello, IL
• John Musser, Stockton, IL
• Kevin Nelson, Ottawa, IL
• Bill Orr, Reddick, IL
• Erika Parker, Dwight, IL
• Terry Perisho, Martinsville, IL
• Kristopher Reynolds, Nokomis, IL
• Garret Robertson, Benton, IL
• Daniel Schaefer, Tolono, IL
• Dean Schafer, Chebanse, IL
• Jeff Seier, Amboy, IL
• Brian Sheehy, Paris, IL
• Randal Simonson, Catlin, IL
• Mark Smith, Charleston, IL
• Randal Stephens, Annapolis, IL
• Neil Stoller, Edelstein, IL
• Lance Tarochione, London Mills, IL
• Kyle Vogelzang, Gibson City, IL
• Todd Wibben, Maroa, IL
• Kurt Wilhelm, St. Louis, MO
• Mike Wilson, Allendale, IL
• Terry Wyciskalla, Nashville, IL
• John Wyss, Bourbonnais, IL