Brazilian co-operators visit CHS farm to learn about US agriculture

Tracy Jones, a director at the agri co-op giant, gave the delegation a two-hour tour of his grain and livestock operation in Illinois

Leaders from 30 Brazilian co-operatives have visited the farm owned by a director of US agri-co-op giant CHS as part of an information exchange project.

Tracy Jones, who sits on the board of CHS, the largest co-op in the US, gave the visitors a tour of his grain and livestock operation in northern Illinois and answered questions about his country’s co-op system and agricultural methods. Discussion included the services and benefits CHS provides to its farmer members.

The trip follows a series of visits by the Brazilian co-operators – representing businesses with revenues of more than BRL140bn (£23bn) – to co-ops and farms in China and Europe.

The group includes several agri co-ops that buy and sell grain inputs and their US trip offered insights into future trends in farming.

Interviewed for the CHS website, Fernando Degobbi, CEO of Coopercitrus agri supplier in central Brazil, said: “I learned that US farmers see value in crop input recommendations and services from co-ops. It shows me that providing digital platforms to buy products is important, but we also need to invest in technical expertise.”

The visit was also useful for Jones, who farms 3,300 acres of corn, soybeans and winter wheat, and has taken two fact-finding trips to Brazil, most recently in March with other CHS board members. He said hosting the Brazilian guests was a learning opportunity and a way to repay the hospitality he received in their country.

Because CHS is worldwide grain supplier and has operations in Brazil, Jones says the opportunity to share information is important. “We create connections to empower agriculture. As a northern Illinois farmer, I can reach end users in China and other countries. CHS helps me do that.”