March 19, 2014

Family Farming in Brazil

Debbie Borg, Nebraska Corn Board member from Allen, Nebraska, sends this post from the current mission to Brazil:

2014-03-15 07.46.31We had the opportunity to spend half a day with a 3rd generation  farmer at the Cascata Farm, a centurion farm founded in 1915.

It is a 1,100 hectares (or 1100 x 2.5 = 2750 aces).  They grow around 400 hectares (1,000 acres) of coffee (100% Arabica coffee which is the highest quality), 200 hectares (500 acres) of sugarcane with is leased to the area sugar mill and 100 hectares (250 acres) of corn.

Most of the corn is used for what is called, “renewing” in the coffee area.  One row of corn is planted between new coffee trees.  This serves as a windbreak for the new coffee seedlings.  This row of corn is hand harvested and then run through their combine.

We learned that coffee is a biannual plant and only harvested every other year.   We saw coffee trees that were from 1 to 15 years old.  A new coffee seedling doesn’t start producing until it is 2 1/2 years old.  We were told that there are 100 year old coffee trees in the area.

Here is a new and old coffee harvester.
2014-03-15 08.23.22   2014-03-15 08.30.45
The main topic amongst the farmers is the drought they are experiencing. The worst they have seen in over 50 years.  And because coffee is a biannual plant, not only is this year’s crop going to be short but next year’s crop is also being affected.

The interesting comment heard from the farm mom was, “In the United States, the farm family does the labor.”  The Cascata Farm place was home to 25 families that live and work on the farm but the farm owner family does not live on the farm - except to spend the weekend (Friday - Sunday) at the farm.  Plus they had about 50 additional workers that are bused in each day with more labor was hired during the coffee harvest.

In addition to crops, they had dairy cows and produced just 400 liters a day and a small feedlot to background cattle.
2014-03-15 10.49.39

1 comment:

  1. Family farming in Brazil is very informative for me. Because it helps to me arrangement my farm. Thanks for your help. Today i also follow a site as like you.
    Ansino Family Coffee Farm