In June 2016, 30 K-State Master of Agribusiness (MAB) students, alumni, faculty, staff, friends and family members participated in an international farm and agribusiness tour of Brazil sponsored by the program.
"The MAB farm and agriculture tour of Brazil was a once in a life-time opportunity! It was a privilege and an honor to represent Kansas State University and American agriculture in South America. We collaborated to learn more about Brazilian production practices, while Brazilian agriculturalists asked us about our production practices. The trip was well worth the time and investment in my education as a graduate student," said Andrew Lauver, MAB student and Sales Promoter/Encirca Certified Services Agent for DuPont Pioneer in Rockwell City, Iowa.
Agriculture is a principal driver of the Brazilian economy. While sugar cane has traditionally been a primary emphasis, Brazil has become one of the world’s largest exporter of coffee, soybeans, beef, sugar cane and ethanol. During the 10-day tour, participants had the opportunity to learn more about Brazilian agriculture with stops at a citrus farm, coffee plantation, sugar and ethanol plant, a cattle ranch, dairy, an agricultural university, an edible bean research center, a John Deere dealership and a crop farm.
Participants noted the lack of physical infrastructure and agricultural education as differences between the U.S. and Brazil.
"In the U.S. we are blessed with land grant institutions. The positive impact of the education, research and extension on agriculture and rural development has been significant. I wonder where Brazil’s agriculture would be today if they had a similar focus and commitment on development through the years," Dave Rock, MAB alum and Manager, Channel Development for John Deere in Olathe, Kansas, said.
"All weather farm-to-market roads are also taken for granted in the U.S. During the visit to the Agropecuaria Missoes [Dairy] Farm we traveled a winding dirt road." said Rock. "This growing dairy business faces a daily challenge moving packaged milk to the retail market over that road, regardless how muddy it may be."
The trip was not all business, as sightseeing was also worked into the schedule. The group toured the Port of Santos by boat, visited the Itaipu Hydroelectric Dam, viewed the three-country monument where Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay connect, and took in the majestic Iguazu Falls from both the Brazilian and Argentinian sides.
"The trip was very valuable and educational. We have a new appreciation for citrus, coffee, and sugar production, as well as our agricultural infrastructures in the United States," said Kevin and Linda Lauver, Calhoun County, Iowa. "More than just an agricultural tour, it was magical to see macaws, parrots and parakeets living in their natural habitat."
See more photos of the trip on the MAB Facebook page: www.facebook.com/KstateMAB.