Technology Advances in Agricultural Production, Water and Nutrient Management


 United States | August 19 – August 30, 2019
Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee and Washington, D.C.

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Travel and Hotel Information

About the Training


By 2050, the global population is projected to reach 9 billion, which will nearly double global food and fiber demand. Achieving and sustaining production at that level are major challenges that must be met without compromising environmental integrity or public health. Agricultural intensification, through the use of high-yielding crop varieties,balanced fertilization, irrigation, and crop protection products and practices, remains the best method to combat these challenges. In the past, emphasis was placed on improving potential yield, but today’s focus is increasingly on improving the nutritional value of foods, reducing post-harvest losses, improving stress tolerance, and reducing reliance on chemical crop protection products.

Agricultural technologies continue to make enormous advances in increasing crop production while safeguarding the environment. The integration of IT and systems research tools, such as geographic information systems (GIS), global positioning systems (GPS), and remote sensing (RT), has spurred the development of precision agriculture tools, such as variable rate technology (VRT) and in-season prediction of crop yield potential. These tools ensure that nutrient and irrigation management match conditions that often vary across and within fields. Precision agriculture allows farmers to maximize their cost: benefit ratio while mitigating environmental impacts. In addition, new technologies, such as chlorophyll meters, allow producers to apply fertilizer based on crop need.Technological advances also have been made in water management techniques, such as soil moisture sensors that control irrigation. These sensors detect when the substrate water content drops below a grower-defined point and automatically activate 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. The innovations will 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 United States, are directly applicable to agricultural  production in developing and developed country environments. Thus, the IFDC study tour will provide participants with a unique opportunity to develop their professional skills and collaborate with U.S. organizations and other participants.

IFDC is uniquely positioned to stay abreast of the latest technologies related to soil fertility and water management and how these can be applied to developing and developed country agriculture. IFDC has well-established relationships with 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 farmer cooperatives, theU.S. Department of Agriculture, numerous research and extension centers and county agricultural extension services, Bayer Crop Sciences ( formerly Monsanto), The Fertilizer Institute, major agricultural colleges and universities, and large- and small-scale farmers.Interactions with these groups will provide the participants with the opportunity to see how farmers, agribusinesses, and policymakers are adjusting to today’s agricultural challenges in ways that ensure agriculture in the United States remains competitive ona global scale. While in the Midwestern United States, the participants will be offered a unique opportunity to visit the Farm Progress Show, the largest outdoor farm show in U.S. agriculture, featuring the most extensive state-of-the-art farm equipment, information,and technology available for today’s agricultural producers.


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, sensor-based irrigation, information management, and precision agriculture.
  • Familiarize the participants with the farm-level 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 major crop production.
  • Expose participants to trends and challenges in the agricultural global market.
  • Provide a forum for participants to discuss the farm-level impacts of national policies related to water and nutrient management.


The program will cover various topics, including:

  • Overview of advances in U.S. agricultural production and nutrient management.
  • Economic benefits of integrating agricultural technology advances into 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 uncertain times.
  • Biotechnology and advances for crop improvement.
  • Management of natural resources and the environment under a changing climate.


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 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.
  • Discussions and interactions that will help participants improve their abilities to compete in the global market and assist farmers in their day-to-day operations.


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 also will benefit from the program. Participants should be fluent in English.

Travel and Lodging

Travel, Food, and Lodging

Participants should plan to arrive in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, on Sunday, August 18, 2019. The program will begin August 19, 2019, at IFDC Headquarters in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The participants will travel as a group via bus from Muscle Shoals, Alabama, to Tennessee, Arkansas, and Missouri. From Missouri, the group will travel via plane to Washington, D.C., where the program will conclude on August 30, 2019. Participants should return to their home country from Washington, D.C.

Air Tickets Required
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. (see information below); Washington D.C. → home country. Huntsville, AL, is the nearest city with an international airport (located approximately 75 minutes from Muscle Shoals/Florence area).
St. Louis, MO, (airport code STL) to Washington, D.C. (Reagan National; airport code DCA)
To ease in logistics and stay together as a group, all participants should book a flight for Wednesday, August 28, on American Airlines Flight #4524 departing St. Louis, MO, at 10:44 a.m., and arriving in Washington, D.C. (Reagan National – DCA) at 1:54 (13:54) p.m.
The food and lodging expenses will average approximately :
    • U.S. $120/day in Muscle Shoals/Florence, AL
    • U.S. $150/day in Little Rock, AR, and St. Louis, MO
    • U.S. $220/day in Washington, D.C.

Venue Snapshot

Visas and Medical Insurance

Applications for visa 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 country of residence. Medical insurance should be obtained by participants. The program fee does not cover any medical insurance or expenses.

Enrollment and Fees

The program fee for this training course is US $2,700 per participant (inclusive of a US $250 non-refundable deposit) and should reach IFDC no later than July 19, 2019, four (4) weeks before the program is scheduled. Those received thereafter will be accepted at IFDC’s discretion and incur a late fee. Participants will be given the opportunity to take advantage of an early bird rate if registration and payment is received by IFDC prior to June 19, 2019. Please refer to the table for pricing.

Group discounts are available for those organizations who sponsor multiple participants. Discounts are available according to the schedule below.







Refund Policy: The program fee, less the non-refundable deposit and, if applicable, the wire fee, 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. An organization wishing to enroll more than one participant should supply information and payment for each participant.

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.

Payment Options

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.

About IFDC

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 over 11,000 participants from over 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 dealerships, competitive marketing, supply chain management, investment analysis, policy reforms and numerous specialized topics.

For all Training Program inquiries, contact:

Bridget Okumu
Training Coordinator

C/o ICIPE Campus, Duduville, Kasarani, Thika Road P.O Box 30772-00100 Nairobi Kenya
office: +254 (20) 514 3600 cell: +254 728 561 710 | skype: baokumu 

As a nonprofit organization, IFDC does not finance or sponsor any participant.