The award, funded by the Illinois soybean checkoff program, recognizes Certified Crop Advisers (CCAs) who excel in helping farmers improve soybean production.
Marshall has experienced a lot of growth in the soybean industry, with top-end soybean yields around 55 bushels when he first started his career 30 years ago. By retirement, he hopes to help his growers break 100 bushels.
“I think we are going to have to grow more beans to stay competitive in the global marketplace,” Marshall says. “I think the industry as a whole will bring better variety and technology to the market, and I think growers will also spend more time fine-tuning their soybean acres in order to achieve those high yields.”
Marshall helps soybean producers fine-tune their management decisions as a crop specialist for West Central FS, Inc., where he provides value-added sales and service of crop inputs including fertilization, crop protection, seed products and technical services to soybean farmers. Marshall has been a Certified Crop Adviser for 27 years and is a committed member of his community, supporting local FFA chapters by providing products for the Agricultural Education Experience Program that helps students learn about soybean best management practices.
Marshall earned a degree in agriculture from Western Illinois University in 1989. Following graduation, he began his 30 plus year career in the GROWMARK FS system at Stockland FS, which later became West Central FS. It was his boss at the time who encouraged Marshall to become a CCA in addition to his status as a Certified Crop Specialist.
“Being a CCA keeps me current in the industry,” Marshall says. “Every year when I’m earning my CEUs there is always one speaker, university professional or presenter that brings a new idea to the table and gives me a new perspective on soybean management. Being a CCA keeps me from getting complacent in the workplace.”
Marshall works with soybean growers to find the best recommendations for each individual operation, all while promoting the correct and sustainable use of seed treatment, foliar fungicide products and soybean fertilizer applications.
ISA created the CCA Soybean Master Adviser award in 2016 as part of its mission to help Illinois soybean farmers excel in the global marketplace. The award acknowledges the significant role that CCAs play in improving soybean production by offering insight and advice on practices to improve yield and profitability. A panel of ISA board members, Illinois CCA board members and university professionals selected Marshall as the winner from among CCAs nominated from across the state.
“Brendan is passionate about what he does and has a clear understanding of soybean best management practices,” says Rich DeSchepper, seed and technology manager with West Central FS. “He makes the best and most applicable soybean recommendations for his growers to help them protect and enable consistent high-yielding genetics, while being mindful of environmental situations and conservation.”
In addition to recognizing CCAs through the CCA Soybean Master Adviser award, ISA is expanding opportunities for CCAs to gain knowledge and skills in soybean management. ISA also enlists CCAs to serve as CCA Soy Envoys. These specialists blog about soybean management on ILSoyAdvisor.com, ISA’s farmer profitability-focused website.
The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) represents more than 43,000 soybean farmers in Illinois through the state soybean checkoff and membership efforts. The checkoff funds market development, soybean production and profitability research, promotion, issues management and analysis, communications and education. Membership and advocacy efforts support Illinois soybean farmer interests in local areas, Springfield and Washington, D.C. ISA programs are designed to ensure Illinois soy is the highest quality, most dependable, sustainable and competitive in the global marketplace. For more information, visit the website www.ilsoy.org.
— Illinois Soybean Association
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