Technology Advances in Agricultural Production and Fertilization
USA (Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Missouri, Illinois, Arkansas and Washington, D.C.)
August 19-30, 2013
Program Fee: $2,000 (by July 19, 2013) or $2,200 (after July 19, 2013)
By 2050, the global population is projected to be 9 billion, resulting in a near-doubling of global food and fiber demand. Doubling food and fiber production and sustaining the production at that level are major challenges, but doing so in ways that do not compromise environmental integrity and public health present even greater challenges. Intensification of agriculture through the use of high-yielding crop varieties, fertilization, irrigation and crop protection remain the most likely options to combat these challenges. In the past, the emphasis was on improving potential yield; but today, there is increased emphasis on improving the nutritional value of foods (e.g., protein content in grain, essential amino acids, content of other minerals, etc), reducing post-harvest losses, improving stress tolerance and/or reducing reliance on chemical crop protection products (CPPs).
In recent times, there have been enormous advances in agricultural production, not only improving productivity, but as importantly safeguarding the environment. Several systems-research tools relating to information technology have become available for fertilizer management. With the introduction of geographic information systems (GIS), global positioning systems (GPS) and remote sensing (RS), farmers can now refine nutrient recommendation models to the site-specific conditions of each field.
Substantial variations in soil properties and nutrient and water availability exist across most fields. Thus, the ability to apply site-specific nutrient and irrigation management to match spatially and temporally variable conditions can increase application efficiencies, reduce environmental impacts, while improving yields. Precision farming technologies have now been developed to spatially vary nutrients and water prescriptions within a field based on various information sources (soil properties maps, terrain attributes, remote sensing, yield maps, etc.). Precision agriculture involves the integration of the new technologies (including GIS, GPS and RS) to allow farm producers to manage within field variability to maximize the cost-benefit ratio. Variable rate technology (VRT) available with farm implements, such as fertilizer or CPP applicators and yield monitors, has evolved rapidly and has fostered the growth of precision agriculture.
Chlorophyll meters are promising tools developed in recent years for corrective nitrogen (N) management. Crop N status can be estimated using a chlorophyll meter since most N in the plant system is contained in the rubisco enzyme found in chloroplasts and chlorophyll proteins, and there is a close relationship between leaf N and leaf chlorophyll content. Applying fertilizer based on crop need as determined by chlorophyll meter readings, as practiced in the Midwestern United States, increases fertilizer-use efficiency.
In-season prediction of crop yield potential using models is becoming available for cereals. This technique offers possibilities for real-time nutrient and water management in prescriptive and/or corrective concepts. The models are based on a quantitative understanding of underlying processes and integrate the effects of soil, weather, crop, pests and management factors on growth and yield.
Conceptual system layout of in-field wireless sensor network for site-specific irrigation (Source: Kim et al., 2008)
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, nearly 40 percent of the world’s food is produced by irrigated agriculture, which covers about 250 million hectares (corresponding to 17 percent of total arable land) and is the major user of fresh water, accounting for 70 percent (on average, and up to 90 percent in many countries) of worldwide water taken up for human use. Since high quality irrigation water is becoming increasingly scarce, it is becoming more important to use available water efficiently. One approach being adopted to overcome this constraint is the use of soil moisture sensors to control irrigation. Soil moisture sensors can detect when the substrate water content drops below a grower-defined set point and can be used to automatically turn on the irrigation when needed.
These emerging technologies are ushering in a new era that will affect farmers’ day-to-day operations and improve their ability to compete in the global market. These innovations will also contribute to increased agricultural productivity and transformation of agribusiness infrastructure. Many of these advanced technologies, as well as the concepts and approaches in strategic farming in the U.S., are directly applicable to agricultural production in developing and developed country environments. Therefore, the study tour will provide participants with a unique opportunity to develop their professional skills and at the same time build collaborations.
IFDC is uniquely positioned to stay abreast of the latest technologies related to soil fertility management and how they can be applied to developing and developed country agriculture. IFDC has well-established relationships with essentially all public and private sector organizations that impact agricultural production in the U.S. This study tour will allow participants to visit some of these organizations, including but not limited to: farmer cooperatives; the U.S. Department of Agriculture; Alabama State Department of Agriculture and Agricultural Extension Service; International Plant Nutrition Institute; Monsanto; The Fertilizer Institute; major agricultural colleges and universities; and many large- and small-scale farmers. Interactions with these entities will provide the participants with an opportunity to see how farmers, agribusinesses and policymakers are adjusting to today’s agriculture challenges in ways that ensure agriculture in the United States remains competitive on a global scale. While in the Midwestern U.S., participants will be offered the unique opportunity to visit the Farm Progress Show, which is one of the biggest events in U.S. agriculture and features the most extensive state-of-the-art information and technology available for today’s agricultural producers.
Training Program Objectives
The objectives of the 10-day training program and study tour are to:
- Improve participants’ knowledge and understanding of recent technological advances in the areas of biotechnology, irrigation, information management and precision agriculture.
- Familiarize the participants with the impact of each of these advances on nutrient management.
- Provide an opportunity for participants from many countries and backgrounds to observe and discuss the practicality and economics of integrating these innovations into the mainstream of major crops.
- Expose participants to trends and challenges in the agricultural global market.
- Provide a forum for participants to discuss on the farm-level impacts from national policies related to water and nutrient management.
Training Program Content
The program will cover various topics including, but not limited to:
- Overview of U.S. agricultural production and fertilization.
- Economic benefits of integrating agricultural technology advances in U.S. agriculture.
- Nutrient management using precision agriculture and remote sensing technologies.
- Sensor-based irrigation management.
- Nutrient and water spatial and temporal variability management.
- Strategic planning and risk management in times of uncertainty.
- Biotechnology and advances for crop improvement.
- Managing natural resources and environment under changing climatic conditions.
- Precision agricultural systems farm-level impacts (real and/or potential) from national policies and international agreements on trade and the environment (e.g. biofuel production and its impacts on commodity prices, reserve stocks and national fiscal, environmental and energy policies).
The program offers exceptional highlights and features including, but not limited to:
- International faculty from IFDC, leading U.S. agricultural producers and other international experts.
- Diverse and participatory activities based on training activities, key lectures and films.
- Written training materials for permanent reference.
- Eight days of field trips to observe recent advances in irrigation and nutrient management, biotechnology, precision agriculture, etc. and two days of classroom- style presentations and discussion opportunities.
- The discussions and interactions will generate considerable information which will help prepare participants to improve their abilities to compete in the global market and assist farmers in their day-to-day operations.
Who Should Attend?
This workshop is designed for innovative farmers, agronomists, soil scientists, researchers and extensionists from national and international agricultural research institutes and universities, as well as policymakers from governments and ministries in charge of agricultural productivity and planning. Executives and managers of fertilizer and agricultural input organizations will find this program extremely interesting. Government officials involved in developing strategies for increased agricultural production through the use of emerging technologies that promote resource conservation and increased efficiencies should also benefit from the program. Participants should be fluent in English.
Faculty for this training program and study tour will include IFDC specialists with several years of experience, farmers, extension agents, public sector researchers, entrepreneurs and other representatives of the private sector involved in using, supplying or developing the technologies.
Travel, Food and Lodging
Participants should plan to arrive in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, on Sunday, August 18, 2013. The program will begin August 19, 2013, at IFDC Headquarters in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The participants will travel as a group via bus from Muscle Shoals, Alabama, to St. Louis, Missouri. From Missouri, the group will travel via plane to Washington, D.C., where the program will conclude on August 30, 2013. Participants should return to their home country from Washington, D.C.
Participants will require an airline ticket to the United States for the following routing: home country - Huntsville or Muscle Shoals, Alabama; St. Louis, Missouri - Washington, D.C.; Washington D.C. - home country.
Huntsville, AL is the nearest city with an international airport (airport code HSV; located approximately 75 minutes from Muscle Shoals/Florence area). Muscle Shoals Regional Airport (airport code MSL) is serviced by Delta Airlines daily and is only 10 minutes away. It is your option to use either airport, bearing in mind that international airports offer more connection possibilities.
For the St. Louis, MO to Washington, D.C. portion, participants should book a flight for Wednesday, August 28, on American Airlines Flight # 1758 departing STL (airport code STL) at 11:55 a.m. arriving in Washington, D.C. (airport code DCA) at 2:45 (14:45) p.m. Note: it is advisable to book tickets early as prices will continue to increase until departure date.
The food and lodging expenses will average approximately US $110/day in Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee; approximately US $140/day in Missouri and Illinois; and approximately US $200/day in Washington, D.C.
Lodging in Florence, AL, while at IFDC Headquarters
Check In: August 18, 2013 │ Check Out: August 21, 2013
The brand new Residence Inn by Marriott has been awarded by the City of Florence, Alabama, as the only certified "Green" hotel in the Shoals area. The Residence Inn offers spacious suites with separate areas for sleeping, working, eating and relaxing. Each room comes equipped with a full kitchen, including a full size refrigerator, stove, microwave and dishwasher, iron and ironing board, coffee maker and LCD television. Their warm, inviting staff is available 24/7 and will make you feel right at home. The hotel is conveniently located approximately seven miles from IFDC Headquarters and within walking distance to restaurants, shopping and places of entertainment. The hotel’s wired fiber optic Internet is among the fastest in the state of Alabama and is complimentary to all guests. Guests can relax by the pool or hot tub or utilize the grill and fire pit. For the sports fanatic, the hotel also features a state of the art fitness facility, as well as an outdoor sports court.
Participants will be extended IFDC’s negotiated special King Studio Suite rate of USD $72.00 per night. This rate includes a full complimentary hot breakfast that is offered daily. Applicable state/local taxes will apply. The hotel's management staff also hosts a complimentary wine and cheese reception every Tuesday night and another small reception two nights a week. Participants are responsible for reservation and payment of accommodations at the Residence Inn. Please contact the hotel to reserve your room NO LATER THAN July 18, 2013. After this date, reservations will be subject to hotel room availability and at the best available rate.
1000 Sweetwater Avenue
Florence, AL 35630, USA
Reservations (Reference Group Code ifdifda):
Cut-off Date for Reservations: July 18, 2013
Lodging in Stuttgart, Arkansas
Check In: August 21, 2013 │ Check Out: August 23, 2013
Located in the heart of Arkansas, Stuttgart is known as the "Duck and Rice Capital of the World." This charming hotel offers easy access to Riceland Foods, the world's largest miller and marketer of rice, and Producers Rice Mill, one of the nation's only rice farmer cooperatives. Other nearby attractions include the Harry K. Dupree National Aquacultural Research Center, Dale Bumpers National Rice Research Center, University of Arkansas’s Rice Research and Extension Center, Museum of the Arkansas Grand Prairie and Stuttgart Agricultural Museum - all within 15 miles of this Stuttgart hotel. Guests are also more than welcome to take full advantage of the Duck Inn's stunning indoor pool, sun deck and business center.
Participants will be extended IFDC’s special negotiated single occupancy room rate of USD $65.00/per night, inclusive of breakfast. Applicable state/local taxes will apply. Rooms are equipped with satellite television, microwaves, refrigerators, coffee/tea maker, iron/ironing board and free wireless internet. Participants are responsible for reservation and payment of accommodations at the Best Western. Please contact the hotel to reserve your room NO LATER THAN July 21, 2013. After this date, reservations will be subject to hotel room availability and at the best available rate.
Best Western Duck Inn
704 W. Michigan Street
Stuttgart, AR 72160-3040, USA
Reservations (Reference Group Name IFDC-Technology Advances):
Cut-off Date for Reservations: July 21, 2013
Lodging in St. Louis, MO
Check In: August 23, 2013 │ Check Out: August 28, 2013
The Drury Inn Union Station is located right in the heart of St. Louis and in the middle of all of the shops and restaurants of Union Station. Walk to the Scottrade Center, Busch Stadium, the Citygarden or any number of attractions in the area. As you might have heard, “The Extra’s Aren’t Extra” at Drury Hotels. Guests will enjoy a complimentary Kickback® from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. each evening. Kick back, relax and enjoy a rotating menu of free hot food and cold beverages. Guests will also enjoy complimentary soda and popcorn in the lobby daily from 3:00 – 10:00 p.m. Drury Inn Union Station offers a 24 hour business center, 24 hour fitness center, indoor swimming pool and whirlpool.
Participants will be extended IFDC’s special negotiated single occupancy room rate of USD $99.95/per night. This rate includes a complimentary hot QUIKSTART® breakfast (including Belgian waffles, scrambled eggs, biscuits & gravy, sausage and more), king size accommodations and in-room microwaves and refrigerators. Rooms are also equipped with flat panel LCD color television, coffee maker, iron/ironing board and free wireless internet. Applicable state/local taxes will apply. Participants are responsible for reservation and payment of accommodations at Drury Inn. Please contact the hotel to reserve your room NO LATER THAN July 23, 2013. After this date, reservations will be subject to hotel room availability and at the best available rate.
Drury Inn Union Station
201 South 20th Street
St. Louis, MO 63103, USA
Reservations (Reference Group Number 2171848):
Cut-off Date for Reservations: July 23, 2013
Lodging in Washington, D.C.
Check In: August 28, 2013 │ Check Out: August 30, 2013
The Hampton Inn® Washington-Downtown-Convention Center, D.C. is in the center of it all brimming with politics, culture, entertainment and American history. You will be just a short walk from many of D.C.'s most recognizable museums, monuments, attractions and the city's Convention Center. While you are a guest, you will be just a few blocks from Chinatown, the Spy Museum, Capitol Complex and the White House. The Washington Monument, mall, U.S. Botanic Garden, Library of Congress, Supreme Court and Capitol Visitors Center are all less than a mile away. The hotel features an indoor pool, whirlpool, fitness center, 24 hour business center and complimentary internet access.
Participants will be extended IFDC’s special negotiated single/double occupancy room rate of USD $139.00/per night. This rate includes a complimentary hot buffet breakfast each morning for every guest, king or queen size accommodations and in-room microwaves and refrigerators. Applicable state/local taxes will apply. Rooms are equipped with 32” LCD color television, coffee maker, iron/ironing board, easy to operate alarm clock/radio and large work surface. Participants are responsible for reservation and payment of accommodations at the Hampton Inn. Please contact the hotel to reserve your room NO LATER THAN July 30, 2013. After this date, reservations will be subject to hotel room availability and at the best available rate.
Hampton Inn Washington-Downtown-Convention Center, D.C.
901 6th Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20001, USA
Reservations (Reference Group Code IFD):
Tel: +1-800-426-7866 / +1 202-349-2271
Cut-off Date for Reservations: July 30, 2012
Visa and Medical Insurance
APPLICATIONS FOR NECESSARY VISAS SHOULD BE MADE AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE. A visa is required for entry into the United States. Each participant must obtain a visa from the Embassy or Consulate of the United States in their country of residence. Participants should fulfill all required immunizations and health formalities before departing their county of residence. Medical insurance should be obtained by participants. The program fee does not cover any medical insurance or expenses.
Cost and Enrollment
The program fee for this training course is US $2,000 per participant, inclusive of a US $250 non-refundable deposit. This fee is due with enrollment but no later than July 19, 2013, four (4) weeks before the program is scheduled. Thereafter, a Late Fee will apply. The program fee, less the deposit, will be refunded for cancellations made two (2) weeks before the commencement of the program. Ninety percent of the paid fee will be returned and 10 percent, in addition to the deposit, will be charged to cover administrative costs for cancellations made between two (2) weeks and one (1) week before the commencement of the program. Cancellations made less than one (1) week before the commencement of the program will receive no refund.
Registration will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Paid participants will receive priority. Registration and program fee payments should reach IFDC by July 19, 2013. Those received thereafter will be accepted at IFDC’s discretion and incur an additional US $200 late fee. An organization wishing to enroll more than one participant should supply information and payment for each participant.
Payment of the program fee can be made by: (1) check or draft payable to IFDC; (2) wire transfer to IFDC’s account in the U.S.A. through First Metro Bank, 406 West Avalon Avenue, Muscle Shoals, Alabama, U.S.A., ABA number 062203955 for credit to IFDC account number 55281; or (3) major credit card – MasterCard, Visa or American Express.
The program fee covers registration, training and reference material, coffee/tea breaks, all lunches and surface transportation on field trips. The fee does not include air travel, lodging and dinner expenses or medical and communication expenses.
IFDC is a nonprofit, public international organization (PIO) dedicated to increasing agricultural productivity and food production through the development and use of plant nutrients in sustainable crop production systems. Headquartered in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, U.S.A., IFDC is involved in human resource development, research and technical assistance in collaboration with public, private, national and international organizations throughout the world. IFDC has conducted more than 700 formal workshops, study tours and training programs for about 10,000 participants from 150 countries since 1974. The programs have covered a wide range of subjects including integrated soil fertility management and fertilizer use efficiency, fertilizer production technology, agro-input dealership management, competitive marketing, supply chain management, investment analysis, policy reforms and numerous specialized topics.
For more information:
Training and Workshop Coordination Unit
P.O. Box 2040
Muscle Shoals, Alabama 35662, U.S.A.
Telephone:+1 (256) 381-6600
Telefax: +1 (256) 381-7408
As a nonprofit organization, IFDC does not finance or sponsor any participant.