Kevin Nelson, Certified Crop Adviser

Kevin Nelson, Certified Crop Adviser (right),of  Ottawa, Illinois, receives the 2019 CCA Soybean Master Adviser award from David Wessel, Illinois Soybean Association district director, at the 2019 ILSoyAdvisor Soybean Summit in Springfield.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Kevin Nelson, a northeast Illinois crop adviser whose signature suggestion in his 2018 weekly Illinois Farmer Today CropWatch reports was to “wave to your neighbors,” was named the 2019 CCA Soybean Master Adviser during the Illinois Soybean Summit, Feb. 5, in Springfield, Ill.

The award is funded by the Illinois Soybean Association checkoff to recognize Certified Crop Advisers (CCAs) who excel in helping farmers improve soybean production.  

“It is very humbling,” Nelson said in accepting the award. “CCA certification has given me the opportunity to help growers find solutions and improve soybean productivity. Being able to help farmers make progress on their farms is why I do what I do.”

Nelson has been a CCA for 24 years. He grew up on a Carroll County livestock farm, and after graduation took a job at a soil testing lab. There he discovered he liked helping producers solve crop production problems.

He is an independent crop consultant at New Ag Center in Monee, Ill., and is hoping to expand his own independent consulting service soon.

Nelson was a 2018 volunteer Illinois Farmer Today CropWatcher providing local information for farmers during the growing season. For the past two years he has served as an ISA Soy Envoy, providing advice through articles on

“I believe that to be more profitable, soybean growers need to treat soybeans as more than a rotational option,” Nelson said. “New practices need to be researched and adopted as appropriate with positive return on investment.”

He was one of seven nominees, said David Wessel, ISA district director who presented the award.

The LaSalle County crop adviser is the third to win this award, after Kris Ehler in 2017 and Stephanie Porter in 2018.

He is also active in helping his community in Ottawa, Ill., and in Growing Hope Globally, an organization that raises funds to help people grow food in developing countries. Twice he has traveled to Nicaragua to personally consult with growers, mostly women subsistence farmers.

Illinois Farmer Today field editor Phyllis Coulter nominated Nelson for the award. A panel of ISA board members, Illinois CCA board members and university professionals selected Nelson from among CCAs nominated across the state.

Phyllis Coulter is Northern Illinois field editor, writing for Illinois Farmer Today, Iowa Farmer Today and Missouri Farmer Today.