Funded by the Illinois Soybean Association checkoff program.


Master Adviser Award

ISA created the CCA Soybean Master Adviser award in 2016 as part of its mission to help Illinois soybean farmers be the most knowledgeable and profitable soybean producers in the world. The award acknowledges the significant role Illinois Certified Crop Advisers (CCAs) play in improving soybean production by offering insight and advice on practices to improve yield and profitability. Any Illinois CCA whose certification is active, is interested and involved in soybean management, and works with farmers can be nominated for the Soybean Master Adviser award.

Nominations for the 2023 CCA Soybean Master Adviser award are being accepted now through October 17. The winner will be recognized both at ISA’s Annual Awards night this November and at the 2023 Soybean Summit in February.

2022 Winner

Jennifer Jones, Effingham, IL. Jones was recently hired as an Agronomy Manager for ISA where she works on behalf of Illinois soybean farmers in the development and implementation of conservation agricultural research and outreach programs. In her former role as Watershed Outreach Associate for the University of Illinois Extension, Jones developed working relationships with local partners within the watershed, such as farmers, Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and Illinois Farm Bureau to motivate and educate farmers and landowners to voluntarily adopt conservation practices to improve water quality and soil health. Jones earned a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a Master of Science in Agronomy degree from Purdue University.


Randy Niver, Potomac, IL. Niver has been a CCA since 2012 and works as a Technical Agronomist for DEKALB and Asgrow in East Central Illinois. He received his bachelor’s degree in Ag Systems Management from The Ohio State University in 2007, and his master’s degree in Crop Science from the University of Illinois in 2009.


Brendan Marshall, Monmouth, IL. Marshall helps soybean producers fine-tune their management decisions as a crop specialist for West Central FS, Inc., where he provides value-added sales and service of crop inputs including fertilization, crop protection, seed products and technical services to soybean farmers. Marshall has been a Certified Crop Adviser for 27 years and is a committed member of his community, supporting local FFA chapters by providing products for the Agricultural Education Experience Program that helps students learn about soybean best management practices.

Marshall earned a degree in agriculture from Western Illinois University in 1989. Following graduation, he began his 30 plus year career in the GROWMARK FS system at Stockland FS, which later became West Central FS. It was his boss at the time who encouraged Marshall to become a CCA in addition to his status as a Certified Crop Specialist.


Kevin Nelson, Ottawa, IL. Nelson has been a CCA for 24 years and works directly with farmers to help solve soybean problems and increase profitable yields on their farms. A Joliet Junior College graduate, Nelson is a dedicated learner completing over 500 hours of continuing education credits during his career. Nelson is an independent crop consultant at New Ag Center in Monee, Illinois.

Stephanie Porter


Stephanie Porter, Arenzville, IL. Porter received both her master’s degree in plant pathology (plant diagnostics) and bachelor’s degree (Integrated Pest Management) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). She received her CCA accreditation and has become known industrywide for her great customer service skills with her clients. Porter has worked for the UIUC Plant Clinic, U of I Extension and Association of Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Districts. Her experience spans many disciplines, including agronomy, horticulture, plant diagnostics and education. She works at Burrus Hybrids as an agronomist.

Kris Ehler


Kristofer Ehler, Thomasboro, Ill. Ehler advises farmers as part of his sales and agronomy role at Ehler Brothers Seed, a 50-year-old family business serving East Central Illinois. A CCA since 2002, Ehler calls himself a “soybean nerd” due to his passion for achieving high yields. He encourages growers to plant full-season soybean varieties, conducting yield trials to demonstrate how early planting can increase yields by as many as eight bushels per acre.

Dave Rahe Excellence in Soils Consulting Award

The Dave Rahe Excellence in Soils Consulting award is an accolade given to one Illinois CCA nominated for their excellence in soils consulting within Illinois soybean production systems, named in honor of former CCA Soy Envoy, Dave Rahe.

Rahe was an ISA CCA Soy Envoy in 2019 and was passionate about soil management, having spent the majority of his career specializing in the field. He passed away suddenly in April 2020, but during his year as a CCA Soy Envoy, Dave authored blogs for ILSoyAdvisor covering topics such as soil compaction, micronutrient management, cover crops, and more.

Nominations for the 2023 Dave Rahe Excellence in Soils Consulting award are being accepted now through October 17. The winner will be recognized both at ISA’s Annual Awards night this November and at the 2023 Soybean Summit in February.

2022 Winner

Dan Schaefer, Tolono, IL. Schaefer is currently the Director of Nutrient Stewardship for the Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association. He spent 30 years in the ag retail business as an agronomist and plant manager for Illini FS. Schaefer worked directly with growers on improving their yields through agronomic practices and recommendations, and assisting the University of Illinois with on-farm research to improve nutrient efficiency. He holds a Master of Science degree in Agronomy from the University of Illinois and is a Certified Professional Agronomist, a CCA, and a 4R Nutrient Management Specialist. Dan was named CCA of the Year in 2010 by the Illinois Farm Bureau and Farm Leader of the Year in 2018 by The News-Gazette.


G. Kelly Robertson, Benton, IL. Robertson is Owner and Lead Agronomist at Precision Crop Services, LLC, a Certified Professional Agronomist, and has been a CCA since 1994. His territory covers south of I-70 in Illinois and into southern Indiana. Robertson received his bachelor’s degree in 1987 and his master’s degree in 2005 from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He obtained his 4R Nutrient Management Specialty and was named the Illinois CCA of the year in 2016. Robertson also served as a CCA Soy Envoy where he wrote articles focused on double crop methods.