For more than a quarter of a century, the National Association of Independent Crop Consultants (NAICC) has given a Consultant of the Year Award. It honors up to three members who illustrate leadership in and out of the organization.
The winners for 2018 are Matt Weller, Minnesota; (Nicholas) Nick Paulsrud, North Dakota; and Daniel Fowler, North Carolina.
Winners must be nominated by a NAICC member, provide career information and be involved in ag-related organizations. The committee also takes into consideration a nominee’s honors, community involvement and educational background. The award is sponsored by BASF. Here’s a brief introduction to each of the three winners.
Matt Weller. For the past 15 years, Weller has served the farmers of southwest Minnesota, and surrounding areas at Centrol Crop Consulting. After interning with Centrol for two years in college, he was hooked. He wanted to work hand-in-hand with crop farmers.
“The reason I love my job is I get to give unbiased recommendations,” Weller says. “That’s really important, especially in this economy, that those are what’s best across all facets of the operation.”
Weller gained his Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) certification about 14 years ago and uses it frequently while working with customers. For any younger person interested in the field, he says you need to make sure you’re not afraid to ask questions and to learn all you can.
Nick Paulsrud. After working on a farm for years and envying the four-wheeling scouts from the tractor seat, Nick Paulsrud got to finally make his dream a reality. He’s worked with Centrol Crop Consulting for the past 20 years and lives in Valley City, N.D.
“To younger people in the industry, surround yourself with good growers, researchers and other consultants,” he says. “I’m lucky to [have] a good group of co-workers and clients. It makes the job fun.”
Paulsrud says he frequently serves as another set of eyes for farmers when it comes to scouting, and he takes pride in giving farmers tips that help improve their overall return on investment and that reduce risk. With a CCA under his belt, Paulsrud says he’s honored to earn this award, and he looks forward to continuing to serve his farmer-customers.
Daniel Fowler. After working for two experienced crop consultants while in high school and through college, Daniel Fowler says the crop consulting life “chose him.” He owns and operates Fowler Crop Consulting Inc. in Weldon, N.C.
“The most important service we provide is a customized experience,” Fowler says of his work. “Each operation is amazingly different. We rarely go in and try to shake up the whole operation. We look for areas where we can make adjustments and make improvements in efficiency and profitability.”
For younger members of the industry, he says the most important thing you can do is be honest with your customers, especially if you make a mistake. Go see the client face-to-face. Fowler says don’t be too discouraged because you can usually turn a potentially negative situation into a positive one.