Student Blog: A busy end to our time in Brazil
By Liz Schusterman
These past nine days we have spent in Pirassununga, São Paulo, Brasil. It is located in the interior of the state of São Paulo and about 3 hours northwest of the huge city of São Paulo. On Sunday, July 10th, we flew into the city of Campinas, which is where the closest airport to Pirassununga is located. After getting picked up at the airport, driving an hour to the hotel and getting some lunch, we got settled at our new stop. Last year, I spent 6 months here in Pirassununga on my Reciprocal Exchange program. For this, I am very familiar and comfortable with the city and how to get around. I took the other students for a little tour of the main area of the city. Pirassununga is a smaller city with a population of about 70,000 residents. It is a safe and pretty tranquil town.
On Monday, we traveled to the city of São Paulo to visit a large livestock show called Feicorte. It is a fair and show for just meat animals, including sheep, goat and of course cattle. This was a great experience because we got to see all the different breeds used in Brasil. We walked around there all day and saw some exhibitors showing cattle. The breeds here in Brasil are very different form in Texas. It was neat to see the differences. A really cool thing that happened was my professor and I were interviewed for a TV program at the show. They asked me to explain the importance of us students visiting Feicorte and how it will help us with our course. It was awesome!
Tuesday, we began classes in beef cattle production, comparing Brasil and the United States. We also toured the facilities at the university we that hosted us, Universidade de São Paulo- Faculdade de Zootecnia e Engenharia de Alimentos (USP-FZEA). The university and region is extremely different from where we were in Recife. The region is much more like Texas. It gets more rain and has similar agriculture practices. The university campus is enormous. It is composed mainly of pastures with cattle grazing on them. There are buildings scattered throughout the campus for classes and research in Animal Science, Veterinary Medicine, Food Engineering and Biosystems Engineering. It is a beautiful campus. I’m a bit more biased because I lived here and have many memories form the campus. On Wednesday, we visited two very different dairy farms nearby, in the city of Descalvado. The first one, called Agrindus, is very well known and is one of three operations in the nation that fabricates its own yogurt and milk right there next to the milking parlor. Embrapa, Brasil’s agriculture research organization, runs the other farm we went to. It was much smaller and used strictly for forage research.
Thursday, we stayed in class most of the day and learned about dairy cattle production in Brasil. We also toured the dairy facilities on campus and ate fresh goat ice cream! Friday was water buffalo day. This was my favorite part. I worked a lot with the water buffaloes last year during my exchange. We also went to a nearby water buffalo farm that makes mozzarella right there on the property. They have a pretty average size herd and have very nice facilities. On Saturday, we had our fun adventure day, and went to Brotas, São Paulo to go hiking and river rafting. It was one of the most fun things I’ve done. I had such an amazing time with the other students and professors. We laughed a ton! Sunday we had free and spent most of the day preparing our presentations for Monday. Everyone did a great job presenting and clearly showed how much they learned these past two weeks. It’s been really neat to see everyone learning a lot (including me) and growing in their appreciation for international agriculture. Tuesday, they all left and headed back to Texas, sadly. I am staying for a couple more weeks to be with some friends. It has been a memorable 16 days in Brasil. I have grown very close to each of the other students and look forward to reuniting with them soon! I will never forget these wonderful times here learning about animal production in Brasil.