Heger gains insight to Brazil’s ag industry
By Suzanne Werre
When Underwood’s Katie Heger became a member of the North Dakota Farm Bureau, she probably thought it might take her places. It’s doubtful she thought one of them would be to Brazil. But that’s exactly where Heger recently visited as part of the Partners in Agricultural Leadership (PAL) program through the American Farm Bureau.
Only 10 people throughout the US participate in the PAL program, which is a two-year commitment, noted Heger. Being in the group gave her the experience of a lifetime in her visit to Brazil, and is also building her leadership skills and ability to share her experience with others through talking, as well as using social media such as Facebook and Twitter. She even blogs every so often, she smiled.
In her visit to Brazil, Heger noted that Brazil is very serious about being eco-friendly, and that extends to its agricultural industry. While coffee and soy beans are chief exports of Brazil, it’s the sugar cane harvesting that Heger learned the most about, including how Brazil is making a concerted effort to change how sugar cane is harvested.
Until recently, the tops of the stalks of sugar cane have typically been burned off (just the lower couple feet or so of the cane is used for sugar), creating huge amounts of carbon emissions. With improved technology today, sugar cane is now being harvested with harvesters (similar to combines), saving not only on the carbon emissions, but the time it takes to harvest the crop.