Brazil and North Dakota Ag Tech Webinar

March 31, 2022

Focus: Technology

This online event will open doors for Brazilian ag tech companies and startups to have a better understanding of the ag tech environment in North Dakota. With a host of innovations and technology to share, this is an opportunity to learn more about the future of the farming and agriculture industry.

The event will include opening remarks from Mr. Benoni Belli, Consul General of Brazil in Chicago, and NDTO’s Executive Director, Drew Combs. We will also hear from Bushel and Grand Farms, two companies based in ND striving to push the boundaries of innovation for technology in agriculture, and Solinftec a Brazilian company with highly efficient technology rooted in agriculture.

Date: Thursday, March 31, 2022

Time: 11:30 am - 12:30 pm (CT)

Where: Online via Microsoft Teams



Benoni Belli, Consul General of Brazil in Chicago, Consulate General of Brazil in Chicago

Benoni Belli has been the Consul General of Brazil in Chicago since August 29, 2020. He began his diplomatic career in 1994 and previously served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the Brazilian Embassy in Washington from December 2012 to January 2017. Throughout his career, Belli was posted in the Brazilian Mission to the UN in New York from 1999 to 2002, the Embassy of Brazil in Buenos Aires from 2002 to 2006, and the Embassy of Brazil in Algiers from 2006-2008. He has also held a number of positions in the Brazilian Foreign Ministry, including Director of Policy Planning from 2017-2018 and Director of the Department for the USA from 2019-2020.

Belli holds a PhD in sociology from the University of Brasilia, a master’s in political science from the University of Campinas, and a law degree from the Federal University of Santa Catarina. He is the author of two books published in Brazil and co-edited the volume, The Road Ahead: The 21st-Century World Order in the Eyes of Policy Planners.

Drew Combs, Executive Director, North Dakota Trade Office

Drew is strategically located in our Bismarck office to assist the western portion of the state. He grew up raising beef cattle, where he experienced his first foray into the international market by assisting in importing cattle from Europe and Africa. In addition to his experience in agriculture, Drew has over two decades of international and domestic experience in energy. He has lived and worked in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Prior to his involvement the North Dakota Trade Office, he worked at the North Dakota Department of Trust Lands as the Director of Minerals Management, where he assisted in managing 2.6 million acres, most of which is within the Williston Basin. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science and history from West Texas A&M, as well as a master’s degree in energy business from the University of Tulsa and is working on his proficiency in Arabic. He is a proud veteran of the United States Marine Corps.

Felipe Gonzalez, Senior Business Development Executive, Bushel

Felipe Gonzalez, International Business major, co-founded businesses in retail, technology and education. As an angel investor on a couple of startups the interest in innovation and entrepreneurship grew even more. He moved to Silicon Valley to do a masters in entrepreneurship and marketing at Berkley and worked for one of the largest startup accelerators and VC Funds in the world, Plug and Play.  Gonzoalez was the lead on Plug and Plays Agtech office in Fargo ND. Today he leads the Latin America expansion of one of the biggest agriculture startups in the world, Bushel.

Bushel provides innovative integrations to support agribusinesses with AIPs, apps, websites and a variety of digital solutions. They provide the ability to respond to markets more quickly and streamline the flow of commodities throughout the ag industry.

Brian Carroll, Director, Grand Farm

Brian is a results-driven leader with extensive experience and success in driving strategic and operational excellence.  Brian spent 8 years as the Site Leader and Director of Advanced Engineering and Launch (AEL) at HERE Technologies and loves helping people plan, optimize, and launch new initiatives. He spent much of his career building high-performing teams in the location content industry, gaining experience in building operations in India, Mexico and Europe. While operations and project management are his primary job functions by day, Brian also enjoys spending time with his family and traveling to interesting places.

Grand Farms is a leader in research and innovation to combine ND’s potential, expertise, and technology to push the boundaries of agriculture. In collaboration with businesses, organizations, and researchers, the program is designing farming for the future.

Daniel Padrão, Chief Operating Officer, Solinftec

Daniel Padrão is the chief operating officer for North American operations at Solinftec, a technology provider built exclusively for agriculture. As COO, Padrão oversees U.S. and Canadian operations for the company, helping customers predict upcoming conditions, solve problems and plan – with efficiency previously unseen in agriculture.

Padrão has a background in agronomy and business, with bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration and Agricultural Engineering. Padrão, has been working with Solinftec for over twelve years – first as a customer, and then the Solinftec Head of Sales. In 2019, he relocated to West Lafayette, Indiana with his family to lead North American operations for the company, a role he continues in today.

Solinftec, founded in Brazil,  is a solutions-based ag tech company with a team of engineers focused on the whole system operation and working toward efficient utilization and processing. Their data-driven approach and hands-on team are dedicated to driving change and efficiency.