When Fred Vocasek was asked to join the Kansas CCA board in its inaugural year, he thought he would help launch the group, stay for maybe 12 months, and then move on to other things. "That was 1992," he recalls with a laugh.
Earlier this year, the Kansas board voted unanimously to nominate Vocasek for the International CCA of the Year Award, calling him a "model CCA" and acknowledging his "selfless volunteering" for the Kansas CCA program, innovative ideas, and vision. A 27-year employee of Servi-Tech, the nation's largest crop-consulting firm, Vocasek received the award in Long Beach, CA in early November at the Annual Meetings of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America.
In addition to serving on the Kansas CCA board since its inception, Vocasek has held several positions on the International CCA board, most recently as its representative to the ASA board.
A mounting emphasis on the environment is probably the biggest change Vocasek has seen over his life and career in agriculture. Growing up on a small farm in Nebraska—where there was "work for two and income for one"—Vocasek spent countless days toiling with a pitchfork and a manure spreader, mucking out barns. Not surprisingly then, he got hooked by the modern promise of agronomy while attending the University of Nebraska in the mid-1970s.
Over time, however, concerns about farming's environmental impacts have overshadowed the benefits that technology-based agriculture brings, he says. Many are now calling for a return to smaller, less industrial agricultural systems—a trend Vocasek admits he finds puzzling, given his own experiences on his family's small farm and the love we have for many other things that modern technology provides, from cell phones and i-Pads to fresh fruit 365 days a year.
Vocasek is also an enthusiastic supporter of Crops & Soils magazine, serving as chair of the ad hoc advisory board.
The Kansas CCA is a professional certificate for agronomist throughout the state. To become a CCA, individuals must pass both a state and national test, and maintain certification through continuing education. To find a CCA in your local community go to: www.kansasag.org/kara and click on CCA.