10. When I participated in the Soy Envoy program for the Illinois Soybean Association in 2016 and 2017, I had just realized my passion for soybeans.  I was not only able to learn more about soybean production in Illinois, but I was also learning from a former soybean breeder.  It was like a living classroom for me.

9. I have always enjoyed learning more, and as an Illinois Soy Envoy, I was invited to take part in trainings such as the Illinois Advanced Soil Health Training that was sponsored by the Illinois Sustainable Health Partnership.  This opportunity opened my eyes to the world of sustainability and lifetime friends to continue to help me along the way.

8. As a Soy Envoy, I enjoyed meeting researchers from around the state and learning more about topics like early soybean planting, weed resistance and, of course, my favorite – diseases.  After going to meetings, I was able to relay information via blogs, podcasts, webinars, and events such as the Soybean Summit for the Illinois Soybean Association.

7. When participating in the Illinois Soy Envoy program, I was also able to meet famous people like Stu Ellis and begin to brush up on my communication skills not only for TV, but also for radio, which truly helped me later in my career.

6. The company I worked for at the time was very grateful and supportive when I was given the opportunity to participate in the Illinois Soy Envoy program. They were also very happy to learn more about opportunities on how they could continue to work with the Illinois Soybean Association as a sponsor and host events.

5. As an agronomist, I was in the field all the time and working with farmers across the state.  As a Soy Envoy, the Illinois Soybean Association provided me with other platforms to share relative and actionable information, in season updates, as well as timely, agronomic advice.  Sometimes I was even known to vent a bit with a “Top Ten” blog: Agronomy: The Top 10 Quotes an Agronomist Does Not Want to Hear a Farmer Say About Soybeans – ILSoyAdvisor!

4. While a Soy Envoy, I met many new Illinois farmers that I enjoyed talking with. To this day, I continue to help them increase yields and profits, while minimizing environmental impact. They are only just an email, tweet, Facebook message, or Snapchat away and I enjoy being connected with them.

3. When I was an IL Soy Envoy, I was lucky enough to network and meet many other Certified Crop Advisors (CCAs) from across the state that I still message every day! Some say we may have formed a secret society or, even better, a lifetime bond!

2. I was fortunate enough to be recognized for all my hard work after participating in the Illinois Soy Envoy program when I was awarded the 2018 CCA Soybean Master Adviser Award.

1: You just never know, maybe after participating in the Illinois Soy Envoy program, it could be the perfect career set-up for you as an Outreach Agronomist for the Illinois Soybean Association! Which now means that I am fortunate to help to recruit, work alongside, and learn from future Illinois Soy Envoys.


The 2023 Soy Envoy application closes THIS FRDIAY, February 3rd. To learn more and apply, please visit www.ilsoyadvisor.com/soy-envoys/.

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About the Author: Stephanie Porter

As Outreach Agronomist for the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA), Stephanie supports research efforts and helps communicate both in-field and edge-of-field research and validation studies to Illinois 43,000 soybean farmers. She also helps lead the demonstration and adoption of conservation agriculture practices and raises awareness of best management and continuous improvement practices for conservation agriculture in Illinois. Stephanie has 23 years of experience that consists of agronomy, conservation, horticulture, plant diagnostics, and education. She has her bachelor’s 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 as the University of Illinois Plant Clinic.

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