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WIU Alumnus Awarded International Crop Adviser Honor

April 19, 2021

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MACOMB, IL – Western Illinois University alumnus Todd Steinacher has been around the world to teach better farming practices, which has led to him being named the 2021 International Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) of the Year.

Steinacher, a 2006 graduate of WIU's School of Agriculture, is an agronomist for the AgriGold seed company, and provides agronomic support to farmers in west central and southwest Illinois. He was named the Illinois CCA of the Year in 2020, and AgriGold Agronomist of the Year in 2018.

The international award was announced during the American Society of Agronomy's March CCA webinar. It will be presented at the American Society of Agronomy-Crop Science Society of America-Soil Science Society of America international annual meeting later this year.

Steinacher is the third Illinois agronomist to receive the honor since its creation in 1992.

"Receiving this award is truly humbling," he said. "I truly love what I do, and have a strong passion for agronomy and helping farmers."

The International Certified Crop Adviser of the Year Award recognizes a CCA who delivers exceptional customer service, is highly innovative, has shown that they are a leader in their field, and has contributed to the exchange of ideas and the transfer of agronomic knowledge within the agriculture industry.

"Early on I set my goal of being an agronomist," Steinacher said. "I've spent most of my career now as an agronomist and what better way to culminate 15 years of agronomy than winning this. It's pretty exciting for me because believe it or not I was actually a very shy kid from a small town and being able to do these things is pretty cool."

Steinacher has also been heavily involved in a Rotary International program in Zambia, Africa, which brought modern farming and planting methods to a group of 11 farmers in the region. The program asked for one acre of land for each farm, lining up the seed fertilizer, herbicide and custom tilling, and buying new planters and an ox for each farmer.

The team Steinacher worked with continued to monitor the progress of the farmers and returned to Africa to observe the results of the harvest. Travel to the region this year, the third season for the program, was not possible because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the first farmers Steinacher worked with in Zambia is now supporting his family with the corn he grows and has expanded his operation to include chickens because he has grain to feed them.

"He is able to feed chickens, which then are going to feed his family," said Steinacher. "Animal protein is very hard to come by over there. He is introducing animal protein to his family, but he's also selling chickens to other people and to restaurants."

Steinacher has worked for Agrigold since 2015. Prior to that, he worked at GROWMARK/FS for about 10 years, doing agronomy sales and consulting.

He credits his education through WIU's School of Agriculture for giving him a great foundation for his agronomic journey.

"The Ag-Mech Club, Agronomy Club and Alpha Gamma Rho are organizations at WIU that sparked my desire for services and leadership during my time at WIU, as well as my professional career," he said.

Steinacher currently serves on the Illinois Certified Crop Advisor Board of Directors. He was presented with his award during a March 24 webinar and will be recognizes at the American Society of Agronomy-Crop Science Society of America-Soil Science Society of America annual meeting in November.

Becoming a Certified Crop Advisor is a program of the ASA and is considered a professional benchmark.

Steinacher is an Illinois Soybean Association CCA Envoy alumnus, writes three blogs monthly for ISA's ILSoyAdvisor, coordinates the current Soy Envoy program where six CCAs from across the state provide blogs and podcasts of agronomic information, and assists in lining up speakers for ISA webinars and the annual Soybean Summit.

Beyond his duties with AgriGold, Steinacher serves on the Illinois CCA Board of Directors, is a mentor to new CCA candidates and represented the CCA program while promoting the importance of ag research funding at ASA-CSSA-SSSA Congressional Visits Day in Washington, DC.

For more information about WIU's School of Agriculture, visit

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