May 22, 2024

Martin: Meet the Soy Envoys

The ILSoyAdvisor Soy Envoys are a critical component to the Illinois Soybean Association’s agronomic advantage. These expert individuals are literally in the trenches and in the fields, studying soils, crop growth and pests and making recommendations to growers based on the growing conditions relevant to their regions.

The result? Illinois soybean farmers are seeing increasing yields and profits, while minimizing their negative environmental impacts.

From March to October, our Soy Envoys contribute actionable information, advice and in-season agronomy updates via the blog.

This program not only benefits our growers, but the participants, as well, as they network with agronomy experts from across the state, strengthen their communication skills and learn new management practices from one another.

The 2023 Class of Soy Envoys includes:

• Karen Corrigan, co-owner, McGillicuddy Corrigan Agronomics — Karen is an independent agronomist and co-owner of McGillicuddy Corrigan Agronomics, an agronomic consultant to farmers in the upper Midwest. She is a Certified Crop Advisor and holds a master’s degree in agronomy and weed science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

• Kris Ehler, sales agronomist and president, Ehler Brothers Company — Kris is a sales agronomist for Ehler Brothers Company in Thomasboro, Illinois. Kris is a graduate of the University of Illinois and a 20-year CCA. The ISA chose him as the first recipient of the Master Soybean Advisor Award in 2017. When it comes to soybeans, he has helped growers implement early planting and management practices to increase yields.

• Matt Herman, account manager, Burrus Seed Company — Matt is a 2020 graduate of Southern Illinois University and majored in crop, soil and environmental management with a minor in agribusiness economics. While attending SIU, he conducted undergraduate research on precision nitrogen management. Upon graduation, Matt was employed at Wabash Valley Service Company as a crop specialist where he earned his CCA certification. As a crop specialist, Matt managed growers’ acres by recommending seed, chemical, fertilizer and specialty products.

• Michael Hicks, sales manager, Ursa Farmers Cooperative — Michael is proud to be a high yield specialist with Ursa Farmers Cooperative Seed Solutions. Throughout his career, he has demonstrated a deep passion for helping farmers achieve optimal results by implementing effective crop management strategies and providing exceptional support to his growers.

• Kelly Robertson, owner, Precision Crop Services LLC — Kelly has been a soil fertility agronomist and precision agriculture consultant since 1989 and also spends time in farm and agronomy management roles for farms in southern Illinois. Kelly is a Certified Professional Agronomist, CCA, Certified 4R Nutrient Management Specialist, 2015 ISA Double-Crop Specialist, 2016 Illinois CCA of the Year and the 2021 ISA Dave Rahe Excellence in Soils Consulting Award winner.

• Leonardo Rocha, post-doctoral researcher, SIU — Leo Rocha grew up in southeastern Brazil on a small coffee farm and has been involved in agriculture for as long as he can remember. Leo received a bachelor of science in agronomy from Universidade Federal do Espirito Santo. He joined SIU as a graduate student in 2017 and later received a Ph.D. in agricultural sciences with an emphasis on plant pathology and nematology. Leo is a post-doctoral researcher at SIU Carbondale and looks forward to sharing soybean pathology and disease management information with Illinois farmers.

• Crystal Williams, field agronomist, Pioneer Seed/Corteva Agriscience — Crystal attended Kansas State University and graduated with a degree in agronomy and a master’s in agribusiness. She supports Pioneer sales representatives and customers across northeastern Illinois and state line regions. Specifically in her area, she helps customers find avenues to mitigate white mold pressure through recommending alternative management practices.

I encourage you to visit and follow along this growing season as the Soy Envoys share their experiences, their farm management advice and everything they learn along the way.

Jim Martin is a district director of the Illinois Soybean Association Board of Directors.