INVER GROVE HEIGHTS, MINNESOTA, U.S. — CHS Inc. and the American Society of Agronomy (ASA) have agreed to collaborate on the development of an online-learning program focused on improving sustainability practices and standards in production agriculture. The groups will develop a curriculum designed for agronomists and agribusiness professionals with a goal of establishing a recognized, industry-wide standard of education to help agronomists and other agriculture professionals implement sustainable practices in the field.

CHS said the training program will be delivered in the form of webinars, case studies, live open-format remote meetings, and a virtual farm tour. Topics to be covered include 4R nutrient stewardship, resistance management, and precision applications.

“CHS is committed to sustainable products and practices where they matter most: on the farm,” said Gary Halvorson, vice-president of retail agronomy at CHS. “Like most farmers, our owners look to their agronomists to help them increase efficiency of their farming operations alongside best practices in agricultural sustainability. By deploying best-in-class training for our agronomists and sharing that training with others through this program, CHS will help the agricultural industry improve social, economic, and environmental aspects of farming.”

Luther Smith, director of professional development and business relations at ASA, said his organization was a natural partner for CHS because it is seen as “an unbiased, non-commercial provider of agronomy education.”

“Here, we strive to provide the most current, science-based education not just to Certified Crop Advisers (CCA), but to the whole agronomy professional community,” Smith said.

After training is completed for the initial cohort of CHS employees, the program will be made available to others through ASA’s online learning platform. The release date for open enrollment will be announced later in 2017.

CHS said the interactive, on-demand training modules will focus on proven best practices for integrated nutrient management and crop protection as well as sustainable farming practices based on benchmark data and case studies from CHS retailers like the location based out of Shipman, Illinois, U.S.

Halvorson said CHS will continue to develop innovative sustainable products and practices and will incorporate them into the program. Additionally, CHS staff will begin courses this summer, and the company has set a goal for all of its agronomists to complete the new program.