Monday, April 14, 2014

Beef Congress of the Americas

Last week I had the opportunity of a lifetime!  I traveled to Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil to participate in the Beef Congress of the Americas.

Campo Grande is located in the Brazilian Province of Mato Grosso do Sul.  It has humid tropical and subtropical climates and experiences two seasons, rainy and dry.

This trip was the conclusion of phase one of an Emerging Market Project funded through a grant by the USDA.  In 2013, myself and three other individuals traveled to Nicaragua to assess the beef industry in that country.  While in Nicaragua we met with producers, meat packers/feeders, and government officials.  Other assessment teams traveled to the countries of Honduras, Columbia, and Brazil to do the same.  At the Beef Cattle Conference of the Americas contacts that were made in all four countries and the U.S.A. came together to share ideas and plans for moving the beef industry in their respective countries into the future.

A common theme from the assessment trips to Nicaragua, Honduras and Columbia was that the countries struggle to produce enough beef to meet demand.  A big reason for that is the dual purpose nature of their cow herds, producing both milk and beef, and the fact that the vast majority of their cow herd is heat tolerant Bos Indicus breeds (mostly Brahman) which are later maturing and finished almost exclusively on grass.  The base of the Brazilian cow herd is mostly Nelore, another Bos Indicus breed, but many Brazilian producers have started to utilize American Angus genetics in a crossbreeding program to help them produce more/better quality beef.  We spent two days touring ranches in Brazil.
Paulo Almedia, of 7 Voltas Farm, explains their crossbreeding program.

A group of Nelore cows with F1 calves at 7 Voltas Farm.  Calves include progeny of 1AN01146 Connealy RIGHT ANSWER and 1AN01170 S CHISUM 6175.

Brazilian creep feeder.

A group of purebred Nelore cows at Perdizes Farm.

A group of Brangus cows and calves at Sao Geraldo Farm.

An owner of the MSX Group explains the marketing of Brangus Beef at the Brangus Meat Store in Campo Grande.

The U.S. Team.
We also spent two days meeting and sharing ideas for genetic and reproductive improvement in each of the countries.

Fernando Brago of Zoetis explains synchronization protocols in Brazil.

All in all it was an extremely successful trip, that I was honored to have the opportunity to be a part of.  We brought together influencers in the beef industry from five different countries!  We spoke English, Portuguese, and Spanish, but were able to break down barriers to communicate and share ideas.  Old relationships were strengthened, and new relationships were formed!

One more, just for fun!  The world's largest rodent, the Capybara!


Author, Sarah Thorson, is our Beef Education Manager. Sarah grew up in Eastern Montana on her family's ranch. She is a graduate of Montana State University and has been a member of the Genex team since 2004. Sarah works closely with the Genex Beef Marketing Staff, providing training to the cooperative's nearly 200 Independent Contractors. She also provides Artificial Insemination training for Genex members and customers and reproductive consulting.