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United Prairie Agronomic Professionals Earn 4R Certification

Tolono, Illinois – The Illinois Certified Crop Adviser Board congratulates Jeff Brown, Kyle Meece and Aaron Grote of United Prairie LLC in Tolono for taking voluntary action and earning their CCA 4R Nutrient Management Specialty Certification (NMS). 

Individuals who have become 4R NMS certified have taken special training and passed a rigorous exam to ensure they are promoting the most environmentally friendly and economically sustainable use of crop nutrients.  The 4R NMS program is a national nutrient stewardship program that stands for Right Source, Right Rate, Right Time and Right Place.  By achieving certification in the 4Rs, crop advisers are taking a significant step to demonstrate their competence in specialized nutrient and soil and water management and will share this knowledge with thousands of farmers in Illinois who seek advice and recommendations from their fertilizer suppliers and advisers.  This is critical as Illinois agriculture strives to make measureable progress in reducing nutrient losses to Illinois rivers, lakes and streams and to the Gulf of Mexico by the year 2025.

Brown, Meece, and Grote all passed the exam on their first attempt and make United Prairie, LLC one of the first companies who have stepped forward to show their commitment to sound agriculture practices by having their agronomist workforce become certified.

“It is a proactive, responsible commitment aimed at long-term productivity.  Adopting best management practices through the 4R concept is where it starts,” explained Brown.  “This commitment shows area agriculturalists our dedication and confidence to provide fertilizer recommendations across a wide range of farming practices, including livestock producers.  Our goal is to maximize nutrient uptake and minimize nutrient losses.”

Illinois proudly boasts having 43 of the 100 4R NMS Certified Crop Advisers nationwide.  There have been 169 total 4R exams taken so far in August 2015 and February 2016.   The exam is offered in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

“Illinois CCAs and ag retailers have aggressively taken on the challenge of reducing nutrient losses and continue to demonstrate that commitment in their daily work.  The training, exams and required continuing education units to remain certified is all done voluntarily and supported financially by these individuals and their employers” said Tom Kelley, Chairman of the Illinois CCA Board.  “It’s an impressive thing our industry is doing and we know that Illinois agriculture as a whole will benefit from this vital education and leadership effort” he added. 

Before these agronomists can become 4R NMS certified, these individuals are required to first earn the Certified Crop Adviser designation, which means they passed two comprehensive exams covering nutrient management, soil and water management, integrated pest management, and crop management.  Along with contributing to the agronomic community, meeting continuing education requirements and gaining the required experience, they have signed a code of ethics and made a commitment to focus on grower profitability while optimizing and protecting our natural resources.  Illinois also leads the nation with over 1200 of the 13,000 agronomy professionals nationwide who have voluntarily stepped up to become certified.

The International Certified Crop Adviser (ICCA) Program is the largest voluntary, agriculturally oriented certification program in North America.

If you have any questions about the CCA Program or would like to find a local CCA, please visit or contact IL CCA Program Coordinator Lisa Martin at (815) 844-6677 or

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