Studying abroad can be a great way to see things in other countries that most people who visit that country will never see or do. There is no better opportunity to see how other people live than to take a trip, with other college students, to a foreign nation. Dr. Bacon lead the trip with myself and ten other students. During this trip we visited coffee, livestock, and sugarcane farms. We also meet with college students at their university. At the end of the trip we went to the Amazon rainforest.
We visited a coffee museum as soon as we landed in the state of São Paulo, Brazil. We saw their harvesters and the areas they used to dry the coffee. We also learned about the history of coffee production and a little bit about the plants themselves.
We visited the largest and most technologically advanced dairy in South America. They had a total of 3000 cattle and capable of milking 60 cows at one time. They also bottle their product on site.
We visited with a local sugarcane farmer in a rural area of São Paulo. There are no major diseases or pests to worry about with sugar cane. They can get 5 years worth of sugarcane crop on the same ground before they plant a legume that they will till under to bring back up the nutrients in the soil. We also got to taste the raw crop in the field. It was very moist and sweet. After they cut the stalk down, they have to get it to the sugar mill within 17 hours or the liquid will evaporate out, and it would not be used to make sugar.
We met with students who studied here, at WIU, in the past couple years. We saw the experiments they were working on with soybeans, corn, cotton, and the rubber tree crops.
Toward the end of the trip, we took a flight to the city Manaus in the Amazon Rain-forest. We got directly on a boat that we would spend two nights on. The cabins on the boat could hold two people with bunk beds and a bathroom with a shower. We fished for piranhas, held caiman (a type of alligator), fed wild pink dolphins, held a large anaconda, and saw the meeting of the waters. These two rivers ( Rio Negro and Amazon) have different PH balances, speed, and densities. They will look separated for 14 KM.
I would recommend studying abroad to any student in college. It has opened my eyes to the vast differences in how they farm in Brazil compared to how we do it here. I saw many more things in Brazil than what I covered in the post, but I put the largest topics that we learned about in Brazil.
My name in Justin Bourquin. I am graduating in May with a degree in Agricultural Business. I am a part of Alpha Gamma Sigma and Ag Mechanization Club. I grew up on a small grain farm in the Northwest corner of Illinois. I plan on moving back to that area or into Wisconsin after graduating.