CAES Leaders Participate in Brazilian Agriculture Study Mission

GREENSBORO, N.C. (March 6, 2018) – Top leaders of the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CAES) at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University recently accompanied the North Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture, Steve Troxler, on a trade mission to Brazil, studying the South American country’s farms, factories and other agriculture-related industries.

Brazil is a leading exporter of some of the same commodities for which North Carolina is known -- poultry, tobacco, cotton, soybeans—and Dr. Shirley Hymon-Parker, interim dean of the CAES, has come away from the tour with impressions on how agriculture in Brazil and North Carolina can be mutually beneficial. The trip also included discussion about Brazil’s role in addressing global food security.

“The CAES is more committed than ever to use its strengths in research and Cooperative Extension to assist small- and limited-resource farmers and partnering with industry and agencies, such as the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, to emphasize the importance of agriculture in solving the global challenges related to food safety and security,” Hymon-Parker said.

Troxler says on the North Carolina Department of Agriculture’s web site regarding the visit: “We want to understand Brazilian agricultural production firsthand and walk away knowing how to use this knowledge to strengthen and grow North Carolina agriculture and our export opportunities.”

Hymon-Parker and associate deans Dr. Rosalind Dale, representing Cooperative Extension at A&T, and Dr. Valerie Giddings, interim associate dean for Research, were among several North Carolina delegates on the Brazil food-systems tour last week.

N.C. A&T delegates were particularly interested in the interaction among small-scale growers with cooperatives, such as CooperSanta in Santa Cruz do Sul, that help producers market their products. A&T agriculture representatives also noted some of the growers’ value-added systems that repurpose raw fruits and vegetables for other uses, such as processing grapes into jam. Opportunities also exist to model Cooperative Extension and university partnerships to Brazil, such as benefit North Carolina farmers in their relationship with N.C. A&T and NC State, Hymon-Parker says.