Introducing Giovani Preza Fontes, Field Crops Extension Agronomist
I am pleased to introduce myself as the new Assistant Professor & Field Crops Extension Agronomist with the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. I’m a U of I alum and am thrilled to be back in Illinois to serve U of I students and agricultural stakeholders through teaching, research, and extension.
I was born and raised in Midwestern Brazil, in the state of Mato Grosso (the top soybean producer in Brazil, with ~27.4 million acres planted in 2021/22). I received my B.S. in Agronomy from the Federal University of Mato Grosso. As an undergrad, I worked in sugarcane production research in my senior year. I then headed to the USA for graduate school. My first stop was Kansas State University, where I worked on ways to optimize no-till cropping systems via the incorporation of cover crops and extended crop rotation, including winter wheat, grain sorghum, and double-crop and full-season soybeans. In Illinois, I worked on a project at the U of I’s Dudley Smith Farm near Pana in Christian County, seeing how much we could lower tile drainage nitrate losses with N fertilizer application timing and cover crops, without losing corn yield. I enjoy all aspects of agronomy, farming, research, and extension activities, and I decided to pursue a career that allowed me to do all of this.
Today’s big challenge is to produce enough food while conserving our soils and natural resources. As an agronomist, my research interests are diverse, but I am especially interested in enhancing nutrient use efficiency so we can produce crops with fewer inputs, or more crops without more inputs. I look forward to working with producers, associations, and input suppliers as I develop my research program. I am lucky to have my predecessor, Professor Emeritus Emerson Nafziger, to work with as I gear up to work in the great agricultural state of Illinois.
I look forward to knowing you all in the coming months. Feel free to contact me at 217-244-0541 or firstname.lastname@example.org