The day has been long, but good. The flight from Chicago was on time, but we had very little time to make our connection from Sao Paulo to Brasilia. All of us finally arrived but four were on a later flight due to customs and security.
The US Embassy briefing was held in our hotel one hour after we were supposed to arrive… So there was no time to check in, yet! We met with Joao Silva Ag Specialist and Jeffrey Zimmerman our Ag Attaché. We also heard from our Environmental Consulate Rick Driscoll. It was very nice that they could fit us in to their hectic schedule. They mentioned they were very busy preparing for Secretary of State Hilary Clintons visit next week! Finally at 18:00 local time we were able to check in the hotel, SHOWER and travel via bus to our evening at CNA. CNA is very simliar to our Illinois and American Farm Bureau Federations.
Our evening was filled with incredible bits of information that really opened our eyes to how the Brazilian organizations view their own agriculture. For example…
- 36% of Brazil’s exports are agriculture based. Their crop year beings July 1 and ends June 30. Instead of having a Farm Bill like we do theirs is reevaluated yearly.
- SENAR is the educational aspect of CNA and doesn’t charge for the education they provide to not only the farmers, but the farm workers and their families as well. They say it’s because they represent the producers who pay taxes which in return funds their budget.
- SENAR’s 4,400 educators are paid by hours of the class.
- And finally – their biggest challenge to becoming a global leader lies in their infrastructure… or lack there of.
Our host for the evening was Carlos Rivaci Sperotto, Director de Comercio Exterior and three of his staff: Rosemeire Dos Santos – Who spoke on the Economics of Brazilian Agriculture, Rodrigo Alwin – who addressed the Dairy Industry, Omar Hennemann – SENAR (which is their Professional Learning sector of CNA) and Antenor Nogueira – and he spoke about the Brazilian Cattle Industry. With the advancement in technology our speakers were able to present in Portuguese and we could hear via headsets in English (and vice versa when we had question). One other interesting fact that we picked up from the US Embassy – the potential ramifications of the first cross sector retaliation awarded by the WTO in the Brazil vs. US Cotton case.
Shwew… That’s a whole lot for a first day! Local time is now 12:25am 25 Feb 2010. Check back tomorrow to find out more about Brazil 2010.