ISA Hosts Brazilian Fertilizer Team

The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) Trade and Exports team had the opportunity to host a group of top soybean producers from the Brazilian Fertilizer team, FortGreen.

“This group was unique since the delegation was made up of soy producers from Brazil,” says Eileen Urish, Trade and Exports Manager. “It is always so interesting to meet farmers from around the world and compare businesses. We always find something in common, it really makes the world feel small!”

While visiting, the team toured many different facilities including the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association (IFCA), the University of Illinois (U of I) Morrow Plots, and Frank and Eric Rademacher’s farm near Gifford, Illinois.

While at IFCA, Kevin Johnson, President of IFCA, provided an overview of the main fertilizer importers and exporters, how current world events are influencing the supply and demand of fertilizer and other chemical inputs, and fertilizer and chemical price projections. They had a robust conversation around crop insurance and the differences between US and Brazil in terms of how many producers utilize crop insurance.

While at the U of I, Dr. Giovani Preza-Fontes, Assistant Professor of Agronomy and Dr. Andrew Margenot, Assistant Professor of Soil Science met with the group from Brazil to discuss their research findings and observations.

The entire conversation was spoken in Portuguese and Spanish. The Brazilian group was ecstatic that they could speak to Preza-Fontes and Margenot directly without the delay of a translator.

The group got to visit the Morrow Plots at the U of I, which Margenot manages. It was explained to the Brazilian team that these plots are America’s oldest experimental field, which was established in 1876, on the U of I campus.

Margenot has a project that was funded by ISA for FY23 called “Benchmarking and Integrating Soil Health, Water Quality, and Climate-Smart Footprints of Illinois Soybeans.”

This research project will establish and integrate benchmarks of soybean sustainability in Illinois using soil health, water quality and climate-smart metrics. By evaluating metrics across a range of soil health management practices – which double as climate-smart practices – and across regions of Illinois, this study will identify and deliver sustainability benchmarks customized for Illinois’ diverse soybean production systems.

To wrap up their visit, the team visited Rademacher Farms near Gifford, Illinois. Frank and Eric Rademacher welcomed the group to their farm to discuss cover cropping in soybeans and what equipment they use to cover crop. Attendees also had the opportunity to walk into fields to check out some soybeans and Illinois soils.

“The group of farmers from Brazil came to learn from us about our soybean production, but I felt we learned just as much or even more from them about their own production practices,” says Jennifer Jones, ISA’s Research Agronomist. “The sharing of information across our groups built valuable relationships, which to me is one of the main points of hosting international visits.”