• Lon Tonneson

    Back from Brazil

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on February 17, 2011

    "So did you make it back from Brazil?" my brother emailed me the other day. He he had been reading my blogs and noted that I stopped writing after one of the last days we spent touring the countryside. I did make it back. I survived the 36 hours of traveling from Iguassu Falls to Sao Paulo, to Miami, to Chicago and finally to Fargo. Or at least my body's back. My head's still in Brazil -- somewhere out there in the jungle. I keep thinking about the things I saw -- the…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    In front of the cameras

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on February 7, 2011

    We spent our last day in Brazil at farm show. It was a grand outdoor ag expo modeled after the Farm Progress Show. The Illinois Soybean Association board members that I am with were met at the show by television crews, newspaper reporters and radio broadcasters. Even in the U.S. farmers usually don’t get this much attention. "Why are you here?” all the reporters asked. Ron Moore, the ISA chairman, explained that the group had traveled to the country to learn about…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Blowing In The Wind

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on February 5, 2011

    The farmers on this Illinois Soybean Association tour of Brazil are definitely high tech. They use some of biggest, most sophisticated farming equipment in the word. They are at ease with Global Positioning Systems, variable rating seed equipment and auto steer technology. They are forever using their Smart Phones, I-Phones and IPods to connect to their word back home as they travel from soybean farm to soybean farm in Brazil. So when we pulled up to the Immigrant Memorial in Castro…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    In Praise of No-till

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on February 5, 2011

    "Wow, look at those beans!,” someone exclaimed as we got off the bus at a farm near Castro, Parana in the southern Brazil. The soybeans in this field were waist high and a deep green color. Perfectly spaced straight tire tracks from self propelled sprayer crossed the field like they were stitching on a emerald quilt,   We had come to see this farm operated by Frank Dijkstra and his family. Dijkstra is no-till pioneer in Brazil and a world recognized leader in the movement…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Brazil -- Day 5

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on February 3, 2011

    We toured Brazil’s biggest soybean port – Paranagua. It located on the southeast coast of Brazil – more than 600 miles from state of Mato Grosso where the soybeans grown. Though modern and efficient, the port is one of the major bottlenecks in getting Brazil soybeans to markets. It’s said that trucks wait in lines stretching 60 miles to unload during the peak of the export season. The round trip from Mato Grosso to the port can take up to three weeks. Apparently, the…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Brazil -- Day 4

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on February 2, 2011

    At 7:30 a.m., the Nativ Farm outside of Primavera, Mato Grosso, it was buzzing with activity. As we arrived for our tour, the farms’ spray plane roared off the grass runway. Three self-propelled sprayers zipped through yard. Fertilizer trucks groaned under the weight of ammonium sulfate as they rolled out of the compound. Apparently, it is always busy on Brazil’s big soybean farms. They grow soybeans, corn, cotton and dry beans year round and they put on a lot of crop…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Brazil -- Day 3

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on February 1, 2011

    Finally made it to a farm on my trip to Brazil with the Illinois Soybean Association And boy, did the farm live up to its billing. We boarded the bus in Cuiaba at 7 a.m. and headed northeast. The land outside of town was a surprise. I was expecting soybeans fields to start right on the edge of the city – Cuiaba, after all, is the center of Brazil’s agriculture engine. But the land was covered in trees and shrubs – the savannah, our Brazilian guide called it. After…

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