05 August 2012

Luis Eduardo Magalhaes, The Agribusiness City

It's become habit to start out a post by saying that it's been awhile since I posted and because of that I will be brief and to the point. This post will be no different whatsoever.

I've been in Luis Eduardo Magalhaes for three weeks now and completed most of the interviews I intended. I'm not going to say much about my research or fieldwork because I have specifically said in interviews that the results will be used in publications and funding proposals, but never mentioned blog posts. So, out of concern for misrepresenting myself, you'll have to wait and read any future publications (knock on cyber wood) or talk to me sometime. That said, I can give a few basic details that are already public information via newspaper, magazine, and TV products. 

So, my research again, is to look at the American farmer perspective on agricultural development in Brazil. This research consists of interviews and observations to understand how Americans fit into agrarian development here and how they change their business and farming practices to fit the environment, economy, and society. Very basic stuff for preliminary research, this is more or less designed to identify and clarify research questions for dissertation research and to finally determine if I'll study Brazilian soy or Bolivian quinoa....or Bolivian illegal used cars or Bolivian mining, lots of choices still but let's stick with soy and quinoa for now.

Most of the American farmers here have adopted (more or less) the Brazilian farming model and have adopted cotton as a third crop to accompany corn and soy. That said, the Brazilian model is not universal amongst Brazilians or Americans. Americans are mostly concentrated in Western Bahia, specifically Luis Eduardo, but are also living in frontier regions (Bahia itself was a frontier region when most Americans came here in the early 2000s). In addition to the more recent, family or independent farmers, there is a large group of mennonite farmers in Brazil who migrated to the country several decades ago. In comparison to the amount of stories written about Americans here, the information on mennonites in Brazil is quite sparse, possibly a gap in knowledge that I can fill during future research.

If you're interested in hearing more, I can recommend a few articles that are more or less nuanced (as much as possible for a 500 word article). I'll be happy talk to you when I get back too. 

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