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11th Massey Ferguson Journalism Award awards the best Brazilian and South American agribusiness work pieces
On the evening of October 4, in a ceremony at Casa Vetro, in Porto Alegre-RS, the winners of the Massey Ferguson Journalism Award 2012 were announced. The event gathered journalists from all over Brazil who stood out for their commitment and quality in publishing news on South American and Brazilian agribusiness, as well as media professionals of Rio Grande do Sul and executives of Massey Ferguson and AGCO.
During the ceremony the senior vice president and general manager of AGCO for South America, André Carioba, and the marketing director of AGCO, Fábio Piltcher, highlighted the record of submissions in 2012: 287 work pieces. They also spoke about the challenge of breaking barriers in the journalism specialized in agribusiness. “Social networks work today with the immediacy of information, so journalists have strong competition and need to make use not only of originality, but also of the creative ability to keep journalism alive and interesting to the reader,” said Fabio Piltcher.
“The first edition of the Award had only 34 entries. In 2012, there was almost 300. The goal at the time was to honor the talent and dedication of media professionals that recorded the history of Brazilian agriculture,” Carioba recalls. “Today, the pieces submitted go beyond that; they bring information on technology to improve field activities, update farmers on the global agricultural scenario, how this scenario will impact their business and how some experiences may facilitate their work, besides adding value to the product and consequently to the farmer’s business,” concluded the executive.
The finalists stood out for their originality of theme, research, argumentation, relevance for agribusiness, structure and even interactivity in the case of Internet use. “The pieces submitted presented very high standard, I followed other editions of the Award and it is noticeable that journalists have been increasingly engaged year after year,” said Carlos Henrique Carvalho, head of the panel and executive president of the Brazilian Association of Communication Agencies (ABRACOM).
“We appreciate the participation of all journalists that allowed the record number of entries this year. We congratulate everyone for the effort, dedication and contribution to Brazilian agribusiness,” concluded Eduardo Nunes, manager of marketing and communications of AGCO for South America.
São Paulo topped the ranking of states with the highest number of submissions, 37%, followed by Rio Grande do Sul with 18%, and in third place Goiás with 9% of the journalists who competed for the R$10 thousand prizes.
Andriolli de Brites da Costa from Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul (MS), with the work “History of the Breed: Nellore” published on the portal Rural Centro on July 8, 2011.
Valdemir Magalhães Cunha from São Paulo(SP), with the work “Late Cocoa” Globo Rural magazine published on November 20, 2011.
Luiz Silveira from São Paulo (SP), with the work “Agriculture seeks a way out to keep pace with productivity” published in the Brasil Econômico newspaper on February 21, 2012.
Denise Sauressig from Porto Alegre (RS) with the work “Management, The rural business in good hands” published in the magazine A Granja on September 1st, 2012.
Cesar Dassié from São Paulo (SP) with the work “Rural roads”, shown in the program Globo Rural, at Globo on March 20.
Thaís Bianchin Goes from Nuporanga (SP) with the work “Organic Coffee: from crop to cup – Challenge and passion in the art of producing very special grains” published on July 7, 2011.
Roderick Mac Lean from Buenos Aires, Argentina, with the work “Las huellas de los alimentos” published on the blog Faros Largos on July 8,2011.
Maintaining farm sustainability for a small agribusiness
Sinar Utara Agrofarm (SUA), a small Malaysia-based farm that breeds over 100 goats and is host to a six-acre plantation orchard has always been an advocate of farm sustainability. We started this focus some four years ago. Central to this effort is our emphasis on a zero-waste concept. On our farm, the zero-waste concept is driven by recycling elements, which is acutely orchestrated through effective farming dispositions.
Here, the waste or residue from sugar cane and Napier grass are turned into compost used to maintain the soil humidity during hot or drought season. As the country resides within the tropical climate demography, embracing hot and humid season throughout the year, this practical approach is highly beneficial. The residue, made up of organic matters, self decompose into nutrient-rich compost which makes it a fitting conditioner that keeps the soil moist. Mobilizing the farm-generated materials back into its operating fold truly defines SUA’s ratifying commitment to sustainable farming. It has also benefits the farm by keeping the expenses at a minimum, bolstering optimization of resources, and aiding creation of healthy farming environment.
The first I heard of Sustainable Agriculture was in Robert Rodale’s New Farm magazine in the 70′s. It made sense as our farm practiced similar methods to the ones he described since grandpa moved his family the home farm in 1918.
The farm consisted of a 5-year crop rotation, limited plowing, and raising enough livestock to consume all of the production of the 300-acre general farm. The manure was spread back on the soil and cultivation was kept to a minimum to protect the nearly and highly erodible soils on the farm.
This worked well until the agricultural crises kept building momentum in each decadal cycle and the wheat price couldn’t be fed or sold at a profit nor the livestock or products you fed it to. There was no room on the farm for a third-generation so I was sent to college to make my own life.
I taught vocational agriculture and became an extension agent in 16 years. By then the sustainability movement was growing and agents visited Rodale’s Farm and taught the principals to those who were interested. Most of agriculture went to specialized production instead and cash grain farming, confinement hog and poultry production instead. Beef, dairy and lamb remained pretty much the sustainable way but dairy soon joined specialization.
The essence of sustainability to me is leaving the place better than you found it. I taught in my classrooms the principle of healthy soil, healthy plants, healthy livestock, and healthy humans; the chain is connected. Rodale and Albrecht’s teachings helped me learn these principles and teach them to others.
My mentor Paul Reed, Washington, Iowa teaches “speak with your fields.” Farmers will ask you how you did that. My crops right now are speaking volumes through this record drought. I attribute this to the sustainable practices of reduced tillage, balanced fertility, crop rotation and careful management.
I do this profitably by farming with used AGCO machinery and preventive maintenance. AGCO is usually the best buy in the marketplace new or used and lasts a long time; we still use 50 and 60-year old equipment. I have taught reduced tillage to thousands of other farmers across this country and beyond. The White Planters 5100 no tillage planter is the best one ever built in my mind. And the farmer designed Gleaner combine is easy to maintain.
I keep my cost of production low using these methods while yielding beyond my county average. The best part is my soil doesn’t wash away and gets more productive each year. Cover crops is an exciting new part of our crop rotation.
Sustainable Agriculture is a must for my grand children and just makes good common sense. AGCOhelps keep me farming sustainably.
Debra shared with us how she has been implementing sustainable agriculture practices in her farm operations. What are some of things you’re thinking about, or have had success with?
This fall will be my second harvest since I started calling myself a farmer. And the third season since I started making management decisions on the farm. There is certainly no amount of education that can prepare you for the complexities of farming. In 2010, mere months after unexpectedly losing my father, I graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Agriculture; majoring in Crop Science. Even with a degree as relevant as that, I still feel entirely lost in our operation.
In the last few years we have tried our best to continue to enhance the sustainability of our farm. We have implemented a flexible crop rotation to decrease pest and disease incidence and better utilize the soil through diversity in crop types and seeding dates. We started soil sampling to better understand the nutrient deficiencies of our fields. We have also made crop checking more of a priority so we can detect pests early and utilize chemical rotation strategies to reduce the chance of resistant populations. It may be a few modest steps toward sustainability, but they have been difficult, yet worthwhile steps up a steep learning curve for our family.
Sustainable agriculture is the key to a very challenging future for our world. If farmers are having a hard time transitioning to management practices entirely different than they are accustomed to, I encourage them to start small. Although these are modest steps, they are to a view that is entirely worth the effort.