Hawkeye Community College’s Agriculture programs are building on a long tradition of excellence in educating post-secondary students.  Being a leader among educators is more complex today as the production of food is global and the need to bridge educators, students, and industry partners together is growing.  Hawkeye is building that bridge with a new Global Agriculture Learning initiative kicking-off with Iowa high school teachers as they embarked on an inaugural visit to Brazil on Tuesday, June 11.

Union School District’s ag teacher Louis Beck, who is also a local producer, will be taking part.  Beck, a thirty year veteran of ag education has spent the last 15 years teaching at Union and is excited about traveling to Brazil.

   “I heard from some of my former students who studied in Brazil through the Hawkeye program about many of the similarities and differences in our farming operations. I am excited to learn about their climate, practices, equipment, and their opportunities as well as challenges. Brazil’s production of ag goods affects our local market, and I will be able to share their practices with my students starting this fall.”

The group will visit a soybean farm and livestock facilities, tour a sugar cane ethanol plant and the Ag Commodity Trading Center, and visit with Hawkeye partnering universities:  Universidade Federal de Goisas in Goiania and the Universidade de Brasilia.  Hawkeye has a well-established study abroad program with these universities. Brazil has increased its soybean production and could surpass the United States in production according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Iowa ranked number two in the nation for ag exports in 2010, according to Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

In August, a group of Brazilian educators, producers, and students will spend two days on Hawkeye’s farm lab. They will experience precision ag technology and operate tractors and combines, take soil samples and create soil maps, and learn about planting and harvesting practices.

“We are very excited about the new Global Agriculture Learning Center concept at Hawkeye Community College. Iowa is in the heartland of the United States, the breadbasket of America, and we are excited to share our best practices with other agricultural players in the production of food worldwide,” stated Dr. Jane Bradley, Vice President of Academic Affairs at Hawkeye Community College.

Daily updates on the Brazil trip will be available through a blog written by the trip’s organizer and Hawkeye instructor, Brad Kinsinger, found on the Hawkeye website: www.hawkeyecollege.edu.