February 02, 2023

Tharp named top crop adviser

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — Jerald “Jay” Tharp Jr., of Jasper County, has been named recipient of the 2022 Illinois Certified Crop Adviser Award in recognition of his decades of crop research and guidance.

“I am grateful to be awarded this year’s Illinois CCA of the year,” Tharp said, adding that he is thankful for the support from his team members at Wabash Valley Service Company, as well as the many farmer cooperators, university personnel and fellow certified crop advisers.

“I have seen a lot of change throughout my career, and this program keeps me updated on the latest practices, products and technology in the ag industry. It also serves as a great networking tool to connect with other CCAs and industry leaders,” Tharp noted.

The CCA Award, the top award from Illinois Farm Bureau and the Illinois Certified Crop Adviser Board, is designed to increase awareness that farmers and their crop advisers strive to make economically and environmentally sound cropping decisions.

The award recognizes an individual who is highly innovative and performed superior service for their farmer customers in nutrient management, soil and water management, integrated pest management and crop production.

Tharp, who has 26 years of experience in crop consulting, works with CCAs and crop specialists across 10 counties in southeastern Illinois during the growing season.

He is a 1995 graduate of University of Illinois College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences with a master’s degree in plant breeding and genetics.

As an agronomist with Wabash Valley Service Company, Tharp is heavily involved in the research of new products and farming practices, which he shares with farmers, seed companies and local FFA chapters.

He also oversees the Wabash Valley demonstration research plot, which showcases different experimental trials with herbicides, fungicides, biologicals, seed treatments and other new practices.

Matt Burgener, Jasper County Farm Bureau director, nominated Tharp for the award.

“I nominated Jay for many reasons, but the most important is his knowledge of the farming industry and the seed technology research he does with Wabash Valley Service Company. He brings a lot to the table for growers in his expertise,” Burgener said.

“In an ever-changing farm economy and technical advancements, Jay is always available to help out producers with his research and plot data to help make the right choices. Every operation is different, and every field is, too, so it is crucial to have the right varieties on the right ground.”

Outside of his work in the field, Tharp serves as Jasper County 4-H beef superintendent and member of the Jasper County Farm Bureau Youth Auction Committee. He also volunteers with many other community fundraising projects and youth agriculture and athletic programs.

As the state’s top crop adviser winner, Tharp’s name will be submitted for the international award by the Illinois Certified Crop Adviser Board.

Tharp will be recognized during the upcoming Illinois CCA Conference, as well as the Illinois Farm Bureau annual meeting.