This presentation was recorded at the 2024 Soybean Summit on February 1st in Champaign, IL.


Robert Bellm serves as Field Agronomist for Brase Farms Inc., Edwardsville, Illinois. He provides field diagnostic troubleshooting and customer support for their seed, fertilizer, and chemical sales. He has extensively scouted and identified dozens of red crown rot infected fields during the past four crop seasons. Robert retired from University of Illinois Extension in 2016, having served as a crop systems educator for 28 years. He has been a Certified Crop Adviser for 30 years.

Dr. Carl Bradley is a plant pathologist for the University of Kentucky. In his role, he studies diseases in field crops (soybean and wheat), researches ways to manage those diseases, and then passes the information on to farmers across the commonwealth and beyond. His family farmed just across the Ohio River in southeastern Illinois (Gallatin County). After receiving a B.S. from SIU, Carl went on to graduate school in plant pathology at the University of Illinois. Since receiving his doctorate, he has worked as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Idaho, an Assistant Professor and Extension plant pathologist at North Dakota State University, then went to work for eight years at the University of Illinois as an Associate Professor and Extension Plant Pathologist, and then came to the University of Kentucky in 2015. In his current role, Dr. Bradley is a Professor and Extension Plant Pathologist that is based at the University of Kentucky Research and Education Center in Princeton.

Dr. Steven Clough, a native of Bradley, Illinois, is a Plant Pathologist and Research Geneticist for the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus. His research has focused on revealing the behavior of pathogens during parasitism, as well as the molecular responses that occur during host resistance, mainly for soybean diseases. After receiving a Bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from UC Berkeley, Steven went to graduate school at the University of Georgia – Athens where he obtained a PhD in Plant Pathology. Since receiving his doctorate, he worked as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Illinois where he learned more on plant transformation, plant defense and genome analyses. He was hired by the USDA-ARS at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus to study disease resistance in soybean in October 2001 and has been at that position ever since.


Stephanie Porter is the Outreach Agronomist for the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA). As Outreach Agronomist, Stephanie supports all things ‘ILSoyAdvisor,’ which encompasses the outreach efforts that help communicate both in-field and edge-of-field research and validation studies to Illinois’ 43,000 soybean farmers. Stephanie has over 20 years of experience that consists of agronomy, conservation, horticulture, plant diagnostics, and education. She has a bachelor’s degree in crop science and master’s in plant pathology from the University of Illinois. Stephanie is a Certified Crop Advisor and was named the 2018 Illinois Certified Crop Adviser Master Soybean Advisor. She also has experience with corn and soybean pathology research, crop scouting, soil testing, as well as crop consulting. Previously, she utilized her diagnostic training and collaborated with University of Illinois departmental Extension Specialists to diagnose plant health problems and prepare written responses describing the diagnosis and management recommendations at the University of Illinois Plant Clinic.

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About the Author: Kelsey Litchfield

Kelsey Litchfield is the Agronomic Outreach Specialist for the Illinois Soybean Association. In her role, she manages ILSoyAdvisor media platforms and assists the agronomy team with events and field days. A native of Rio, IL, Kelsey earned her bachelor’s degree from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2017 where she double majored in Agricultural Communications and Broadcast Journalism.

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