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CCA SPOTLIGHT

Here we will be featuring some of our exceptional Ontario CCAs to show what sorts of things they get up to on the job, and what the CCA designation means to them.

 
Ilona Holliday, CCA-ON
 
                                                    
 

Ilona’s career started when she began working at Cargill as a summer crop scout in 2012, which lead to an agronomy role with the company. She has remained in the agronomy space since then and became a CCA in 2015. Ilona currently works as a sales agronomist at Harriston Agromart, which is a full-service crop input retailer.           

Ilona describes the largest benefit of having her CCA designation as “meeting fellow CCAs and building a network of connections that I can reach out to”. She finds that “everyone has different areas of expertise, and it’s great to meet people and be able to reach out to them for help or a second opinion”. Another benefit Ilona enjoys about having her CCA is the value that the growers she works with place on the designation. She notes “I do get asked whether I have my CCA when meeting a new grower”, showing that they realize the standard of knowledge, experience and ethics that come with the designation.

In Ilona’s current role as a sales agronomist, she spends most of her time in the fall and winter months helping growers plan for the growing season, and the spring and summer months she scouts fields so that she can make the best recommendations possible. During the planning period, Ilona consults on topics such as seed selection, fertility, crop rotation and crop protection. In the growing season, she makes crop protection and fertility recommendations as well as trouble shoots any problems that arise.

Ilona is passionate about agronomy, and when asked what her favourite part about being a crop advisor is, she replied, “working closely with our growers to try and grow the best crop we can. I love that every day, every month and every season is different, and you are constantly learning new things. The term ‘being bored’ doesn’t really exist as a crop advisor!”. She keeps busy and stays up to date through working with her grower customers, but also by going to conferences such as the Southwest Ag Conference and the Ontario CCA Conference. She also is constantly getting updates from supplier representatives, coworkers and social media.

Consistently learning and being challenged is a common theme in agronomy and farming, and Ilona noted that this year, her biggest challenges have been related to field and weather conditions. Earlier this spring, the dry, cold conditions at planting resulted in inconsistent soybean populations, and cold nighttime temperatures prevented them from spraying wheat herbicide and fungicides at the critical times. Clearly, climate plays a large role in agronomy and farming, and the agriculture industry relies on knowledge and experience of CCAs like Ilona to navigate through each growing season!

 

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International Certified Crop Adviser Program

Fertilizer Canada 4R Nutrient Stewardship

CropLife Canada

Ontario Soil & Crop Improvement Association

Conservation Ontario

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CCA Board of Directors
39 William Street
Elmira, Ontario N3B 1P3
Telephone: 519-669-3350
Fax: 519-669-3826
Email: laura.tfio@bell.net

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