In early June I started telling the story of my journey in Brazil this year with the U.S. Grains Council and National FFA Organization and now I am finally continuing that story! On day two we drove in the green bus, to Juiz de Fora for a DAIRY couple days! EMBRAPA was our first stop, which is one of Brazil’s national dairy research centers. We met with the kind staff there, and I had an absolute blast!!! The center researches everything dairy related in 14 different laboratories from milk quality, reproduction, embryology, to entomology, nutrition, and the tick population that bothers dairy cattle throughout Brazil. I was very impressed with this center and look forward to learning more about it as time passes or maybe doing research there one day. Next we visited a dairy vocational school, Instituto de Laticínios Cândido Tostes, which teaches 150 students interested in dairy how to process milk into various delicious products. The students are between high school and college and spend two years at the school before furthering their education elsewhere or working in the industry. Junio, our tour guide there and an instructor did a great job of showing us the school and the dairy plant where the students gain hands-on experience. They also conduct research in this dairy plant working with a total of 10,000 kg of milk a day (22,000 pounds) for students and research. After a great visit to Juiz De Fora, we departed to Ponte Nova.
Day three took us to another DAIRY visit! EMBRAPA, the national dairy research center, has an experimental farm. Hermenegildo, a highly educated dairymen at heart took us to the dairy experimental farm and showed us around the site. This was not a large dairy, about 60 milk cows. They graze through part of the day and are fed a “cow salad” a total mixed ration of corn silage and elephant grass hay. In the afternoon we headed to PifPaf, the largest food processor in Minas Gerais, BRA. It’s a vertically integrated, privately held poultry and pork processing company. At some of their chicken processing facilities they process 150,000 chickens a day!! Unfortunately we couldn’t go inside their feed mills or facilities, but we learned through the process about the great deal of care Brazil takes to ensure a safe food supply. The poultry industry of Brazil is one it’s fastest growing agriculture sectors. In 2011 they held 39.7% of the world marketplace for chicken! As the United States biggest competitor in food production, they are on top of their game.