Cliff Mock has spent decades walking southeast Texas rice fields as both a rice consultant and a farmer.
His commitment to the region’s rice industry hasn’t gone unnoticed. Mock was recently named 2019 Rice Consultant of the Year, an award sponsored by Corteva Agriscience and Rice Farming magazine.
Mock, owner of Cliff Mock Consulting in Alvin, Texas, received this prestigious award at a Feb. 27 reception in Memphis. The award recognizes dedication, leadership and innovation of this critical segment of the U.S. rice industry.
“It’s my responsibility to help growers achieve their goals.” -Cliff Mock
Mock’s career has included stints as an extension agent, agronomist, sales rep and independent crop consultant. A lifelong farmer, Mock also is the agricultural representative on the Gulf Coast Water Authority and a Texas Rice Research Foundation board member.
This breadth of experience bolsters the value of his expertise to rice growers and rice researchers.
“He has the whole enchilada on his plate,” says M.O. “Mo” Way, entomology professor at Texas A&M University. “Cliff is an astute, well-respected and totally dedicated crop consultant. He also has remarkable people skills to communicate honestly but compassionately with clientele.
“Cliff has been instrumental in improving my research program. He serves as the eyes and ears of my program by alerting me and other rice scientists to pest management situations needing attention.”
A Texas A&M University graduate, Mock partners with his son, Wade, in Mock Farms. Their crops include rice, soybeans and grain sorghum. “Farming helps me think like a grower when making recommendations,” Mock says. “We are able to talk about the crop a little more realistically and make decisions accordingly. I don’t take this trust lightly.
“I see myself as one of the luckiest people in the world. As a crop consultant, I get to see a wide variety of farming practices and circumstances. I’m just a sponge. I take what’s been successful on one farm, modify it and introduce it to the next producer.”
Mock’s approach must be working. He’s had many of the same grower-clients since he began consulting in the 1980s. He’s also hired the sons and daughters of longtime clients as summer interns and watched proudly as they begin running their own farming operations.
“As a crop consultant, I’m another tool rice growers have in their chest. I’m very fortunate in that they try to follow my recommendations. But if they aren’t able to do that, it is my job to figure out how we can take what we are dealt and still optimize their operation,” he says.
“We work together to produce the most profitable crop possible. Sometimes that may mean producing as much rice as possible. Other times it may mean limiting inputs to control costs and hitting the middle on yields,” Mock says. “It’s my responsibility to help growers achieve their goals because it’s their crop and their livelihood at stake.
“I learned a long time ago that no matter how good a recommendation is, it will not work unless the grower believes it will.”