Thursday, April 19, 2018

Syrian Refugees Find Agriculture

Syrian refugees in Turkey are finding agriculture as a way to improve their lives as well as others. Below we have linked a video that explores how agriculture is being used to get refugees back on their feet and many hare how it improves their current situation, but hope to improve things if given the chance to return to Syria. You are encouraged to watch the linked video and utilize the discussion points below to guide your conversations around the world!\

Enhanced Resilience For Syrian Refugees (5:09)

Discussion Points

  • Explain the program that is being implemented to empower Syrian refugees in Turkey.
  • Why do you feel this program has been so successful?
  • Do you see a program like this being beneficial to implement in other areas of the world? Explain your reasoning.
  • Brainstorm ways to improve this program. What can be done to take things to another level?

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Sericulture in Japan

Do you know how silk is produced? It is an interesting process that most might be unaware of. Linked below is an article that explains silk production, trends the industry has seen, and what is being done to increase efficiency. We encourage you to look over the linked article and utilize the discussion points below to guide your conversations around the globe.

Japan Looks to Revitalize Sericulture

Discussion Points

  • Over the years what have been the trends in sericulture?
  • What is being done to improve efficiency in sericulture production? What are your overall thoughts on this? Good, bad, or indifferent? Why?
  • What was the most interesting piece of information you learned from this article? Explain your thoughts.
  • Many challenges were mentioned in sericulture. Brainstorm and explain possible improvements that the industry could make to improve production and efficiency even more? Think outside the box. The possibilities are endless. 

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Brazil: Ag Power

On our recent visit to Brazil we had the opportunity to visit the Ministry of Agriculture in Brasilia. We were able to learn about the products produced and agriculture practices in Brazil. There is no doubt that Brazil is a leader in agriculture and has great growth potential. We encourage you to look over the linked document that was shared with us in Brazil and utilize the discussion points provided to guide your conversations around the globe!

Brazil Agriculture

Discussion Points

  • As you look over the slides which slide surprised you the most and why? 
  • Brazil is a major agriculture player with the opportunity to expand. Explain why this is the case.
  • There is often a misconception that Brazil is destroying the environment. What is Brazil doing to protect and improve their environment? 
  • Compare agriculture in Brazil to agriculture in your home country/region. Are the crops and livestock similar/different? Trade relations? Trends? Environmental laws and protection? 

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Acute Hunger Grows

A recent report emphasizes the rise in acute hunger around the globe and why it is so alarming. Acute hunger is defined as so severe that "it poses an immediate threat to lives and livelihoods." We encourage you to read over the linked article and utilize the discussion points provided to guide your conversations around the globe.

Acute Hunger Intensifies

Discusion Points

  • Last year globally there was an increase in acute hunger. Why did we see this increase?
  • Conflict and weather are key factors that were noted as contributing to world hunger.  Explain why these two factors contribute so greatly to hunger.
  •  How do we combat the challenges that conflict and weather bring to world hunger? How do we solve these issues in your opinion? Give specific examples.
  • Towards the end of the article key messages are shared. Of these key messages what stuck out to you the most and why?

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Trade Uncertainty

Agriculture trade is very important to countries around the globe. There are many things that can impact trade including countries imposing tariffs and quotas. This week there has been a lot of talk about tariffs being placed on products between China and the United States. The attached article gives a brief summary and includes a video explaining the current situation between China and the United States. We encourage you to watch the video, read the article, and utilize the discussion points below to guide conversations around the globe?

Tariffs for China and U.S. Goods

Discussion Points

  • Explain what a tariff is. If you need to do additional research that is fine.
  • Why is the U.S. considering tariffs on China? Why is China considering tariffs on the U.S.?
  • What is the potential impact to agriculture in the two countries (markets, supply, etc.)?
  • How might this "trade war" impact your home country? Your home state?
  • How might this situation impact countries around the world besides China and the United States?
Discussion tip: Note that the discussion points above do not include any political figures or parties. Try to keep the discussion to trade policy and agriculture markets.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Field to Flight

We will soon be in the air  on our way back to the USA. We have arrived at the Brasilia airport and are awaiting boarding. We started off our day at the Ceres Agrobusiness Field Day. We were able to visit with seed, fertilizer, and chemical companies about production practices in Brazil. One of the most intriguing sessions was a company creating fertilizers from ocean products, such as red algae. GALC was even highlighted by the local media with a video interview.



Following our time at the field day we packed up at the hotel and began our trek back to Brasilia. We have three flights ahead of us before returning to Waterloo Sunday afternoon. We’ve all had a spectacular time in Brazil, but look forward to seeing family and friends as we return to Iowa!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Agriculture and River Run

Today was our last full day in Brazil before we fly home tomorrow evening and return to Iowa on Sunday. We kicked off our day with a visit to a cotton processing facility. It is a family owned operation which grows and processes cotton so it can be shipped to clothing and material manufacturers in Brazil and around the world. We discussed the process from when it leaves the field to when it is shipped to manufacturers for production. After we learned about grading and all that goes into cotton production we made our way to the fields. We visited a cotton field that was planted in December and will be harvested in late May/early June. There was much discussion on production practices. Many were blown away be the intensive management of cotton which includes 26 passes of pesticides and 4 passes of fertilizers.

We enjoyed a traditional Brazilian lunch once again, which is a buffet style lunch with many options. Following lunch we visited Caramuru, a plant that processes soybeans and corn into many different products from corn meal to vegetable oil. The plant specializes in non-GMO soybean processing and sends a lot of that product to the Netherlands and Europe. The corn they work with is all GMO corn. They stated the premium for non-GMO soybeans is great and the reason for their procedures.


Following our hot day of touring we cooled off with boating and swimming in the river that separates the states of Goias and Minas Gerais. This was a relaxing way to end the day before enjoying a spectacular dinner with even better friends in Brazil! Tomorrow we will attend a field day in the morning before making our trek back home. There may not be another blog post until next week with two busy travel days ahead.