Landus’ Berns earns 2017 top CCA award
By KRISS NELSON
AMES – Brian Berns, a field sales agronomist for Landus Cooperative’s Farnhamville and Churdan locations, was recently recognized for his extensive knowledge of the agronomy industry, his commitment to his position and for his environmental efforts outside of the job.
Berns received the 2017 Certified Crop Advisor of the Year for Iowa. He was recognized during a luncheon at Landus Cooperative’s corporate offices in Ames on Feb. 27.
Berns grew up on a farm near Churdan. After studying agribusiness and agronomy and graduating from Iowa State University, he began working at Farmers Co-op in Farnhamville and, shortly thereafter, extended his role into his hometown area of Churdan.
“I ultimately became an agronomist for the growers I grew up with,” said Berns. “It was a challenge, but ultimately was a rewarding opportunity.”
He has remained in that position for 24 years.
Berns became a CCA in 1996 and has mentored others for the past decade, stressing that not everything is learned in a classroom, and there is always something for which to be vigilant.
“What we do we learn every day,” Berns said. “We cannot become complacent. The next thing to be found is out there and I would like to be the one to find it.”
A huge honor
Berns said receiving the CCA award is a huge honor and very hard to describe.
“It is tough to put into words,” he said. “There are so many talented agronomists in Iowa and others working in agriculture and to be part of the top is a huge honor and a very, very big deal.”
“I have worked for 24 years with a lot of talented agronomists in a lot of different roles and to be toe-to-toe with them is a huge honor.”
Berns said as a retail sales agronomist, you just do not receive an award like CCA of the year in the state of Iowa without a supportive staff.
“I am very fortunate to have a team of agronomy operators that run at the level of service I demand and they deliver,” said Berns.
He had $18 million in sales for Landus Cooperative with 120 customers and more than100,000 acres. With that accomplishment, he also thanked those customers.
“My customers make me better because I work with growers that want to do better,” he said.
Support of his family, he said, is the driving force behind his success. Berns said his family understands the hours and time it takes to do the job as an agronomist and he is fortunate to have that kind of understanding and backing from them.
The CCA of the year award in Iowa is awarded by the CCA of Iowa program, which is under the American Society of Agronomy and the International CCA.
David Chaffin, the 2017 chair of the Iowa CCA board, said members were impressed with Berns’ longevity in the job and for his work within the Raccoon River Watershed Association.
Berns was nominated by a fellow field sales agronomist at Landus Cooperative – Joe Wuebker. Berns mentored Wuebker for almost two years. It was that time spent with him, that Wuebker realized Berns deserved to be honored.
“Just the hours he puts in, his people skills; he stands out year around and he will tell you agronomy is a year-around job,” said Wuebker. “He helped me to get my CCA and I achieved that largely because from what I learned from being around him.”
Todd Claussen, director of agronomy for Landus Cooperative, said he is proud of Berns, who is not only a colleague, but a friend,
Claussen said Berns has a high knowledge of the seed industry, but is also a well-rounded knowledgeable agronomist.
“More well-rounded than any other agronomist that I come in contact with,” said Claussen. “He takes responsibility for the success of his customer’s farms.”
“I have known him for more than 15 years and the value brought to his customers and clients is unmatched.”
Claussen applauded Berns for his mentoring abilities, stating that all of those that he has mentored are certified CCAs.
Chaffin said Berns will be in the running for the national CCA award representing Iowa in 2018.
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