One of the founding members of the Queensland Consultants Association, Bernie Caffrey, has been honoured with life membership of Crop Consultants Australia (CCA).
The honour was awarded to Mr Caffrey at the CCA's recent Cropping Solutions Seminar at Narrabri.
Mr Caffrey's involvement with the Qld Consultant's Association began more than 40 years ago, and when the association merged with the NSW Consultant's Association, it was to form CCA.
He said the establishment of both Associations pioneered fee-for-service agronomic consultancy, and he is pleased to see how the CCA has grown.
"From about 20 original independent cotton consultants working mainly in pest management to the CCA. It represents the full diversity of agricultural professionals working in all aspects of broadacre crop production," Mr Caffrey said.
He said being a member of the CCA provided many benefits, such as professional development, information sharing and friendships.
"So thanks to all those members and the executive staff who have helped the CCA evolve into the very functional and vital association it is today," he said.
"Independent crop consulting businesses are generally family owned like ours, so firstly thanks to my wife Julieann for her support and managing the office, to my sons Stephen and Michael for inspecting crops for many years."
Mr Caffrey said his success was also due to numerous dedicated employees, with special mention to Geoff Rudd and Neil Robertson and "many very loyal clients" over the decades.
He was the first independent agronomist on the Darling Downs in 1979, and after his first cotton season, he undertook a two-month, self-funded study tour across the whole USA cotton belt.
"When it came tax return time, my accountant took one look at my financials, and was not impressed, and said Bernie, you have a degree, 'Why don't you get a real job'.
"Well, he did not know about the growth that was beginning in the cotton industry and the growing demand for independent agronomic services.
"I am very grateful for the long and satisfying career that I have had, helping produce food and fibre in agriculture, an industry where relationships and communities are valued.
"Being an agronomist is challenging and demanding in a variable climate, especially given that good agronomic management often needs pre-emptive and anticipatory actions.
"Fortunately, there are many technical aids to help monitor crops.
"But, some advice early in my career stood by me: 'There is no substitute for an agronomist's regular inspections of a crop'.
"Stay informed with the latest knowledge, work with your clients, share information and the decision making, be patient for success working in a variable biological environment, keep the long-term vision in mind, and strive for a balanced life.
"Finally, thanks again to all those CCA members and ag industry people who helped me in my career," Mr Caffrey said.
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