The Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) Certification Program was established in 1992 to provide a benchmark for practicing agronomy professionals in the United States and Canada. It was established as a program of the American Society of Agronomy (ASA), with the first certifications awarded in 1993. The program currently operates in the US, Canada, and India and additional programs are currently in development for Mexico and Argentina so it is now an international certified crop adviser program (ICCA) program. The ICCA program is voluntary, providing a base level of standards through testing and raising that standard through continuing education. Each CCA had to pass two exams (international and local) and submit credentials detailing their education, crop advising experience, plus two references. The international exam covers four major competency areas: nutrient management, soil and water management, integrated pest management, and crop management. Continuing education must also fall into one of these four areas to be valid for CCA Continuing Education Units (CEUs). In the Mid-Atlantic Region (DE, MD, VA, WV and NJ), there are currently 300 plus certified crop advisers.
To address the continuing education needs of this clientele group as well as our clientele as a whole, a collaborative group including the Universities of Delaware, Maryland , West Virginia, and Virginia Tech; NRCS in Maryland and Delaware; and the Mid-Atlantic CCA Board established our Mid-Atlantic Crop Management School in 1995.
- This school provides a diversity of educational programs in a 2 ½ day format with a variety a breakout sessions.
- Five concurrent sessions are offered addressing nutrient management, crop management, integrated pest management, soil and water management, and an alternative track on horticulture that offers a variety of credit categories (NM, CM, SWM, PM, and PD professional development).
- Emphasis is placed on new and advanced information with group discussion and interaction encouraged.
- In general, there are approximately 50 speakers and 230 + participants.
- School participants include agronomists, crop consultants, extension educators, farmers and farm managers, agribusiness, soil conservationists, and state department of agriculture personnel.
- Each year from ninety seven to one hundred percent of the school participants indicate that the school will allow them to provide better crop management information to their clientele.
- Crop school participants indicated that the economic value of the school to their clientele is $26 per acre.
- Crop school participants consult on approximately 570,000 acres in the Mid-Atlantic region.
- Overall economic impact of the school for the Mid-Atlantic Region is estimated to be $14,500,000.
To learn more about the agricultural programs offered by UD Cooperative Extension, visit the Agriculture and Natural Resources landing page. A copy of the 2012 Mid-Atlantic Crop Management School brochure is available online.
Submitted by Joanne Whalen, Ag Program Leader