Brazil is the second largest food exporter in the world supplying seven percent of global food demands, and some U.S. farmers got to see Brazilian agriculture through the recent Brazil Farmland Tour sponsored by Commstock Investments. Arkansas farmer Michael Henryson says he was surprised by how level the farmland was.
“The level of how the ground is farmed in such large plots. It’s just unbelievable. And very productively farmed, no spots that aren’t attended to appropriately you know, very few weed escapes, you know, very good agronomist. Very good production people.”
He says the cleared forestland was different than what he expected. “This land here tends to not need drainage, it absorbs all this water. There are no rocks in the majority of it. And so, I assumed when they cleared a forest, It would be rough ground, rocks and whatever, and it’s exactly the opposite.”
Iowa farmer Mike Oberbroeckling says the Brazilian farmers are much like U.S. farmers.
“These Brazilians are using modern day technology, all the planners that we saw, none of them had markers on, they’re all running with GPS, you know, their rows are laser straight, just like we do back in the States. And they are just like typical farmers, they have costs that they have to keep in mind, and they obviously are farming to make a profit. And one thing was the degree of reserves that they have to keep, you know, depending on how far away they are from the Amazon. If they were close by, they can only farm like say 20 percent of it. And if they’re quite a ways away, they can farm 60 percent of their of their land holdings.”
While Brazil is a market competitor to the U.S., he says in some ways they have to work together.
“Well, obviously, they’re strong competitors of ours, but we probably need to look at it as such that Brazil can’t feed the world by themselves, America can’t feed the world by themselves. We need to do this together. I mean, we’ll always be competing market wise and you’re going to have politics involved sometimes as well as the exchange rate, you know, these type of things. So, both countries are going to try and market their grain as best they can for us farmers.”
The Commstock farmland tour concluded January 23.