MFA Crop-Trak Area Sales Manager Jason Mefford was named the 2019 Missouri Certified Crop Adviser of the Year Dec. 17 during the University of Missouri Crop Management Conference in Columbia, Mo.
The award is designed to recognize a crop consultant who delivers exceptional customer service, is highly innovative, shows leadership and contributes substantially to the exchange of ideas and transfer of agronomic knowledge within Missouri’s agricultural industry.
“Jason takes pride in his CCA certification and the code of ethics it stands for,” said MFA Senior Staff Agronomist Jason Worthington, who serves as chairman of the Missouri CCA board. “He’s not only one of the most skilled consultants I’ve been around, he is also a valuable resource for other Crop-Trak consultants he mentors, instilling those values and working diligently to train them with the agronomic knowledge they need. He has coached several employees who stepped up in the company and is responsible for a lot of their success.”
The Certified Crop Adviser program is coordinated through the American Society of Agronomy. To become certified, a candidate must have two years of crop production experience and a bachelor’s degree in agronomy or at least four years of post-high school experience, pass a CCA state and international exam as well as sign a code of ethics. CCAs must earn continuing education credits to remain certified.
“Jason exemplifies the CCA program with his internal motivation and desire to learn new things,” Worthington said. “To get certified, you not only have to have agronomic expertise but also real-world experience and commitment to customers. You are expected to continue learning throughout your career and stay involved with changes in the industry. Jason is never satisfied not knowing the answer and seeks out knowledge constantly.”
Mefford, who earned his CCA designation in 2013, began his MFA career as an intern working with crop consultants to scout fields. Within a year he joined MFA full time as a crop consultant and now serves in a regional agronomist role, supervising four other crop consultants in west central Missouri. Together, they scouted more than 45,000 acres in 2019, assisting around 60 growers with pest management, fertility, variety placement and scouting other field issues.
“My main goal is the do the best we can for the grower, agronomically, economically and environmentally,” said Mefford, who also holds the Certified Professional Agronomist, 4R Stewardship and Resistance Management Specialty designations. “We measure our success as consultants by the success of our growers.”
Worthington added that the values of the CCA program mirror MFA’s core values of customer partnering, stewardship, innovation and technology, honesty and integrity. That’s why out of Missouri’s nearly 300 certified crop advisers, MFA employs 75 of them.
“We expect any of our employees who make grower recommendations to have their CCA certification,” Worthington said. “That not only includes crop consultants but also precision specialists, key account managers, applicators and store managers. Even our livestock specialists are CCAs because they deal with forages—one of our region’s major crops. It’s an important program for agriculture and valuable to growers, and I hope it instills confidence that MFA is doing the right thing.”