The number of certified crop advisors (CCAs) in Ontario topped the 600 mark in 2017 and agronomist ranks in the province just keep on growing.
At the Ontario Certified Crop Advisor Association annual meeting this week, outgoing CCA board chair Ken Currah reported that organization membership has now reached 655, with 102 more candidates registered to write CCA exams in February. “It’s very gratifying to see the growth of the organization,” as well as the diversity, with many young farmers and women, says Currah who now turns chair duties over to Deb Campbell.
Currah says the need for agronomy expertise is shared by both farmers and the agronomy sales and input channel. “Farming is changing and crop production is changing… From weed resistance, to nutrient management, and seed treatment regulations, we’re the gatekeepers for a lot of different issues at the farmgate level.”
Ontario Certified Crop Advisors have launched several designations in recent years that reflect specific challenges in agriculture production. Currah says 109 CCAs in the province have now achieved their 4R Specialty Certification. He adds that Ontario is now home to almost one-third of all the 4R certified CCAs in North America. (Story continues after the interview.)
In 2019, a Resistance Management Specialty will be added, with 18 CCAs scheduled to write the exam. “This specialty will allow interested CCAs to add credibility via certification to their focus on the ever-increasing agronomic challenge of weed and disease resistance to pesticides and other control options,” says Currah. A Precision Ag Specialty is also in the works.
In this interview, Currah explains that the organization has also been busy sharing agriculture policy insights with the Ontario government. He notes that he and other CCAs recently met with new Ontario minister of agriculture, Ernie Hardeman. “Those are great conversations… We have a new government for the first time in almost a generation so they are reviewing the lay of the land and putting forward their vision.”
Currah points out that the new Progressive Conservative government is largely rural based and has willingly engaged stakeholders such as his organization.