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Brazil Mission Opens Eyes to Similarities with Ag Producers

Posted on March 12, 2014 at 11:26 AM by Iowa Corn

Fuel pumps in Brazil.
The first three days of our mission in Brazil have been spent in Sao Paulo and Santos.  In Santos, we visited Brazil's largest and most important port. 67% of Brazil's GDP goes though the port and it serves 11 Brazilian states well as Bolivia and Paraguay.  Continuous improvement is needed for the port to make it competitive with the rest of the world. The roads that bring products from the inland have not developed as fast as the agriculture sector would like. Much like the U.S. bureaucracy, lack of long term vision and funding has slowed infrastructure improvements.

We spent time in Sao Paulo visiting with UNICA, Brazil's Sugarcane Industry Association. We had a great discussion of higher ethanol blends and flex-fuel autos. All fuel in Brazil contains at least 25% ethanol.  Today, 60% of autos in Brazil are flex fuel.  That means 40% of the cars are not flex-fuel, but STILL running on 25% ethanol.  This is something we are told by our U.S. Auto companies that can't be done.  It's being done in Brazil with all makes of cars.

Agricultural Federation of SaoPaulo_Brazil
The group meeting with the Agriculture Federation
of Sao Paulo State
We met with the Agriculture Federation of Sao Paulo State.  They represent agriculture producers, and work to get favorable government policy in place.  We find we have many similarities with Brazil's Ag producers in this arena.  We're advocating for many of the same things: stronger crop insurance, fair environmental regulation, and tax issues. They agree with the sentiment that lack of infrastructure is the number one problem facing Brazil's agricultural sector.

To date, this has been an incredibly informational and thought-provoking experience.

Mark Recker is a farmer in Fayette County and chair of the Iowa Corn Industrial Usage & U.S. Production Committee. He has been operating his corn/soybean family farm for the last seventeen years. Mark enjoys the rewards of farming and overcoming the challenges that go along with farming each year. 

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