Polenske began work with a bachelors’ degree in Agronomy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and experience as an intern in a county extension office, scouting fields and providing reports. Crop consulting was just starting as a profession, and Polenske sought out the additional training. In 1991 he became a Certified Professional Agronomist, which became the CCA program in 2012.
Polenske’s work can be described by the numbers: 29 years, 56 current clients and 50,000 plus acres of his own clients, while managing a consulting firm with 23 employees and helping with their clients. It can also be described as a commitment. “Some people would call it a passion, and some would call it a disease,” Polenske states. “If people are hiring me as a consult I should be available with farmers’ hours.”
Nominator and University of Wisconsin-Extension agent Bryan Jensen mentions Polenske’s generous approach: “Jeff has the mind and attitude of a teacher. He has laid the foundation for creating the next generation of agronomists.”
“One of the keys to growth is getting involved as much as we can. It’s a thirst for learning—now I’m teaching and I still want to learn,” Polenske says.
The award will be handed out at the American Society of Agronomy (ASA) Annual Meeting.