Dr. Shirley Hymon-Parker was among the top agricultural leaders in the state who recently accompanied N.C. Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Troxler on a trade mission to Brazil, studying the South American country’s farms, factories and other agriculture-related industries.
Brazil is a leading exporter of some of the same commodities for which North Carolina is known -- poultry, tobacco, cotton, soybeans—and Hymon-Parker, interim dean of the CAES, came away from the tour with impressions on how agriculture in Brazil and North Carolina can be mutually beneficial. The trip also included discussion on Brazil’s role in addressing global food security.
“The CAES is more committed than ever to use its strengths in research and Cooperative Extension to assist small- and limited-resource farmers and partnering with industry and agencies, such as the N.C. Department of Agriculture, to emphasize the importance of agriculture in solving the global challenges related to food safety and security,” Hymon-Parker said Monday.
Troxler says on the N.C. Department of Agriculture’s site that: “We want to understand Brazilian agricultural production firsthand and walk away knowing how to use this knowledge to strengthen and grow North Carolina agriculture and our export opportunities.”
Hymon-Parker and associate deans Dr. Rosalind Dale, representing Cooperative Extension at A&T, and Dr. Valerie Giddings, interim associate dean for Research, were among several North Carolina delegates who spent a week in Brazil in February as part of an immersion in the country’s food systems.
N.C. A&T delegates were particularly interested in the interaction among small-scale growers with cooperatives, such as CooperSanta in Santa Cruz do Sul, that help producers market their products. A&T agriculture representatives also noted some of growers’ value-added systems that repurpose raw fruits and vegetables for a purpose that adds to their value, such as processing grapes into jam. Opportunities to model Cooperative Extension and university partnerships to the country, such as benefit North Carolina farmers in their relationship with N.C. A&T and NC State, also exist, Hymon-Parker says.