Visiting Brazilian farmers intrigued with Canadian farming practices

The Rio Olympics?

Whatever.

How about Western Canadian edible bean yields, fungicide use and length of growing season?

Those were hot issues a group of 30 Brazilian farmers wanted to know all about as they visited the Agriculture Canada research centre in Morden.

Rather than attend the Olympics in their home country, the dedicated farmers chose to visit Western Canada to see how Canuck farmers farm.

“We flew exactly at the end of the Olympics,” said Reinaldo Anastacio, the agronomy consultant for the Brazilian farmers’ cooperative whose members were on the trip.

“We came to get new ideas, new solutions.”

North American farmers have regularly traipsed down to Brazil to see how agriculture is done in that nation’s vast expanses of farmland. There have been fewer trips of Brazilians to North America, but this group chose Canada for its annual journey to an exotic foreign farming nation. In previous years they have visited the U.S., South Africa, China and Australia.

Anastacio was one of the translators for the farmers’ group, many of whom spoke only Portuguese. They rapid-fired questions at him as they surrounded Agriculture Canada pulse disease specialist Waldo Penner beside strips of edible bean trials.

“Do you apply a lot of fungicides?”

“What are the main diseases?”

“How long is the growing season?”

“How much do farmers expect bean crops to yield?”

And they repeatedly clarified most answers from Penner, via Anastacio, with “Acres ou hectares?”

If the answer came in acres, they would immediately convert it to hectares so it made sense to them.

The farmers group came from Sao Paulo state whose cooperative’s members are descended mostly from Dutch immigrants to Brazil, hence its name, Cooperative Holambra, which was founded in 1948.

After Morden the group was heading to Regina, Saskatoon, Medicine Hat and Calgary.

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