USDA’s Cochran Fellowship Program brings Brazilian ag analysts to Bradshaw Farms

Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 6:59 PM CDT
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GRIGGSVILLE, Ill. (WGEM) - Bradshaw Farms in Griggsville got global attention on Wednesday with a visit from USDA officials, local farm bureau members, and seven Brazilian analysts going through the Cochran Fellowship program which aims to exchange knowledge with agriculture professionals in other countries.

“It’s very well-structured,” said Sergio Santos who manages ag statistics at Brazilian-based ag supply company, CONAB. “And really well organized.”

Thome Guth, who also works in CONAB’s ag analysis department, said he noted just as many similarities as he did differences in U.S. and Brazilian farm production.

“This system of how they produce grains, for example corn and soybean, is different,” Guth said. “What kind of fertilizers here do these people use, the kind of chemicals and the difficulties they have today about the price of fertilizer.”

Phil Bradshaw, owner of Bradshaw Farm’s, said the U.S. and Brazil are two of the largest ag producers in the world. However, he said both countries are big competitors.

“They want to sell their soybeans and we want to sell ours,” Bradshaw said.

Bradshaw said exchanging ideas and methodologies are what make the ag industry better off overall globally.

“I have been to Brazil many times,” Bradshaw said. “I believe one of the reasons we have been able to keep up with the population increases are that farmers are very sharing.”

He said sharing and exchanging knowledge and farming strategies helps strengthen the ag industry. More efficient production helps to make food more affordable and helps to offset diseases that animals such as pigs could carry.

“That’s why I open my farm to anyone and any time,” Bradshaw said.

Brad Summa is one of many directors for the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, operating out of the Heartland Regional Field Office. He said working closely alongside the Cochran Program, he reached out to Bradshaw since his farm demonstrates multiple farming methods.

“The top three commodities in Illinois are soybean, corn, and hog,” Summa said. “And Bradshaw produces all three.”

Summa said the program takes U.S. ag professionals to other countries as well. One group he said is learning methodologies in the Dominican Republic right now.

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