K-State Master of Agribusiness offers Tour of Brazilian and Argentine Agribusinesses

Thursday, October 3, 2013

MANHATTAN, KAN. – Kansas State University’s Master of Agribusiness (MAB) program is offering travel to Brazil and Argentina to learn about the food and agriculture industry in South America. The trip will include professional visits to agricultural and food-related industries. Guided sightseeing tours will be arranged along with free time to explore Buenos Aires, the waterfalls at Puerto Iguazu, and Sao Paulo. The tour is scheduled for Feb. 14 – March 1, 2014 and is open to anyone with an interest in international agribusiness.

This the second time the MAB program has traveled to South America since it began hosting international agribusiness tours in 2004. Tracy Brunner, president of Cow Camp Beef in Ramona, Kan., was one of the participants on the first South America tour.

“The MAB-sponsored agricultural study tour to South America [in 2004] became even more than we expected. We saw and learned many things about crop and livestock production. We also witnessed firsthand some of the inherent strengths and challenges of agriculture in the MERCOSUR countries we visited,” Brunner said.

MERCOSUR is an agreement between several South American countries designed to promote free trade, among other efforts.

Allen Featherstone, professor of agricultural economics and director of the Master of Agribusiness program, thinks people will enjoy getting a different perspective on agriculture.

“While the MERCOSUR region is a direct competitor for U.S. agriculture, their perspective on many issues is very different than the U.S. perspective,” Featherstone said.

“Understanding management challenges in a region that deals with turbulent macroeconomic conditions, no formal government support, and few formal insurance markets will provide a keen insight into one of the biggest challengers to the U.S. agricultural system. Understanding the process used by the South American livestock sector in dealing with animal traceability will also be educational.”

Previous international trips hosted by K-State’s MAB program have been to South America, Russia, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand, and Europe. Travelers get a first-hand perspective of international agriculture, while building relationships with members of the group. When remembering the most recent trip to Europe, Brunner said he enjoyed the mix of the group, professional visits and sightseeing.

“I think the K-State Master of Agribusiness group assembled an excellent tour that was not only interesting and educational, but really enjoyable. One of my favorite things was getting to know the group members. There is such a great dynamic on MAB trips. We also sampled European agriculture and saw many of the world class sights of Rome, Milan, Lucerne, and Paris; few tours could ever boast so much in such a short time,” Brunner said.

K-State’s Master of Agribusiness is an award-winning, distance-education degree program that focuses on food, animal health and agribusiness management. Students and alumni work in every sector of the food and agribusiness industry and are located in 40 states within the United States and in more than 30 countries. The program has three start dates and campus session locations for the convenience of working professionals.

More information about the trip can be found at http://mab.ksu.edu/Alumni/SAmerica14.html or by contacting Mary Bowen at 785-532-4435 or mjbowen@ksu.edu.