Dr. McClung's pioneering soil fertility research in the 1950s analyzed the complexity of Cerrado soils and showed that a transformation of the region was possible. His work uncovered an innovative soil improvement process to correct the drastic nutrient depletion of the Cerrado and counteract aluminum toxicity in the region's highly acidic soils, concluding that the Cerrado could be made suitable for production of crops as diverse as coffee, soybeans, citrus and corn.
Beginning his career as Secretary of Agriculture in the state of Minas Gerais in the early 1970s, Alysson Paolinelli created a new model for rural credit and other development programs. He envisioned and oversaw the creation of the institutional and financial infrastructure that enabled crop and livestock production to flourish in the Cerrado. As Minister of Agriculture from 1974 to 1979, he was instrumental in establishing the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA) to provide a system of technical, administrative and research support to farmers and agribusinesses.
Edson Lobato was a leader in evaluating and carrying out studies of Cerrado soil fertility and agricultural production. During the course of his 30-year career as an agronomy engineer and administrator at EMBRAPA, Lobato led Cerrado soil fertility and agronomy research as it expanded to include soil microbiology, soil management, and crop management.