March 17Today we started the day off with a long bus ride to the south for a tour at the Itumbiara Pioneer plant. The production manager shared a presentation with us about Pioneers production and research structure in Brazil. The plant we visited focuses on corn production and produces a number of varieties for export. Yesterday they were bagging small bags for export to Pakistan. During our tour they were very willing to show us every detail of production. One aspect that amazed students was the cold storage. The seven bay cold storage is held at 53 degrees Fahrenheit and when full can hold 1.1 million bags valued at $385 million. Students really enjoyed this tour.
The bus rides give us time to enjoy the different scenery that Brazil has to offer. In Brazil there is a lot of cattle production, mainly grazing in the Goias region. The predominant breed is the Nelore which is a Bos Indicus breed (humped and lighter muscled but heat tolerant and more insect resistant).
We spent time in the afternoon at an organic farm near Goiania. This farm was certified in 2008 and has about 1000 acres, 50% of which is in its natural state for environmental preservation. Some main crops produced are beans (23 varieties), rice, citrus fruits, cassava, tomatoes, and potatoes, in all over 20 different crops are produced. They also rise cattle, swine and poultry organically.
March 18Today was a relaxing day at the hot spring water park. Unfortunately we didn't have a warm, clear day but the water is so warm it was still enjoyable. They have water slides, a wave pool, and pools for floating or playing volleyball (students had some pretty lively games).
We ended the day at a Brazilian restaurant that offered some American options. Juarez, our host, said this was one of his favorite restaurants. He ordered for us a combination of Brazilian and American foods...rice, beans, steak, fries with cheese to name a few.
Today was another great day.