It was an 86-year-long journey that eventually launched the modern Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) program. The American Society of Agronomy (ASA), currently headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin, was founded on December 31, 1907 with only 43 individuals—over time that would grow to 10,000 members in 1978. The ASA provides resources and network opportunities for agronomy and soil professionals to learn and in turn advise others. In 1993, ASA launched the Certified Crop Adviser program. There are currently 13,000 individuals, including 1,200 form Illinois that have earned and currently hold the honor of being a CCA.
The purpose of a certification program is to protect the public and the profession. It is a voluntary professional enhancement to a person’s career credentials. One reason farmers and employers prefer to work with CCAs is because they have demonstrated the commitment, education, expertise and experience to make a difference in a client’s business (ASA Learn more about the CCA certification process here.
CCAs are required to obtain 40 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) in a two-year cycle in nutrient management, soil & water management, integrated pest management, crop management and professional development. These CEUs are opportunities for active CCAs to stay engaged with modern practices and potential issues in order to properly advise farmers, clients and landowners on good agronomy practices.
As a CCA, I take great pride in being one of the select few who carry the title. Passing the CCA exam is not an easy task, with only 40 percent of those taking the exam passing and becoming certified. This certification is self-elected, no one told me or forced me to become or stay a CCA. I aggressively attend as many CEU offered meetings or events as I can throughout the year to stay as current as I can. I also take seriously the responsibility when I sign the CCA code of ethics and strive very hard to live and advise by these high standards, as do so many fellow CCAs.
In 2015 the Illinois CCA program and the Illinois Soybean Association partnered to launch the CCA Soy Envoy program. This program brings agronomy and production management focus to soybeans. The Soy Envoy program recruits 6 Illinois CCA members from across the state and these individuals provide actionable information and advice on issues during the growing season. Envoys write and publish monthly blogs on relevant topics in their region for, record interviews for the ILSoyAdvisor podcast, and support regional ISA farmer meetings. ISA is currently recruiting CCA members to become a 2020 CCA Soy Envoy. For details please email requests to
1. How to become a CCA:
b. Complete Tri-State Exam
c. Complete International Exam
d. Complete education / advising requirements
e. Sign the Code of Ethics
2. CCA Specialty Certifications:
a. 4R Nutrient Management
b. Precision Agriculture
c.Resistance Management
d. Sustainability
3. Locate a CCA:
a. Not all industry representatives are required to hold a CCA, so follow the below link to search for a CCA in your region.

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About the Author: Todd Steinacher

Steinacher is an ISA CCA Soy Envoy alum and currently supports ISA on agronomic content as well as serving as an Illinois CCA board member. He was recently awarded the 2020 IL CCA of the Year & the 2021 International CCA of the Year. He has over 15 years agronomic experience, currently working with AgriGold and GROWMARK previously. Steinacher has an associate degree from Lincoln Land Community College, a B.S. in agronomy and business from Western Illinois University and a master’s degree in crop science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.