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Brazil Mission - Day 4 - 7 Update

Posted on March 17, 2014 at 11:25 AM by Iowa Corn

Mark Recker, Amanda De Jong
and Roger Zylstra at Case IH.

Hola from the state of São Paulo! The last 4 days of our ethanol mission to Brazil have been a whirlwind of information and site visits.  We have visited two sugarcane and ethanol research laboratories, Delphi Powertrain, Case IH, the Agriculture College of São Paulo, two sugar mills, a coffee, sugarcane, corn/soy, and cattle farm, and the Association of Sugarcane Providers. 


I have some key lasting impressions and one funny story to share. First what has surprised me most are the very similar changes we face in ethanol and agriculture. Our countries are both dealing with Governments who have neglected our transportation needs in rail and river infrastructure. Brazil has also recently dealt with government subsidies to oil which has made the lower blends of ethanol less popular as they are more expensive than 100% ethanol.  This one struck home as we have long been battling our own government picking winners and losers. Finally, Brazil is looking ahead to future ethanol opportunities. They are looking towards the export market. The US is also shifting our focus to exports as it appears our opportunities for domestic consumption may be flattening out. We have a real opportunity to get a head start as our transportation infrastructure while lacking, is in a better place than Brazil's.

Mark Recker checking out the sugarcane planer
at the mill farm.

One funny story about our mission. Brazil has been in a severe drought for the last two years. It is the driest period they have had in the last 2 years. While we toured the Case sugarcane harvester and sprayer plant it started to downpour. They received 5 inches of rain in about 15 minutes. The entire plant flooded! All the workers quit working in the assembly floor and grabbed hundreds of mops and starting sweeping water into the drains in the floor. A very comical scene and one that can't be good for productivity!

Today, we fly to the capital city of Brasilia to continue our meetings with Brazilian government officials, USDA, and other local trade associations. Chow!

Checking out the soil planting conditions.


Amanda De Jong is the Senior Policy Advisor at Iowa Corn handling federal issues.  Prior to joining Iowa Corn, she spent four years as Agriculture Counsel to Senator Chuck Grassley in Washington D.C. handling agriculture policy, food safety, nutrition, and trade.  She has also worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington.  Amanda has a B.S. in Agricultural Business from Iowa State University and a J.D. from the University of Iowa Law School.


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