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U.S.-Brazil Agricultural Initiatives Battle Evolving Challenges

By Michael Conlon 

The United States and Brazil are world leaders in agriculture. Together they feed 25% of the global population and serve as close partners in agricultural research. Two new U.S. government-sponsored initiatives are expanding this partnership to develop more efficient use of fertilizers. Fertilize 4 Life (F4L), which began in February 2022, is a five-year research initiative to improve fertilizer-use efficiency, reduce nutrient losses to the environment, and improve farmer profitability. The Department of State’s Office of the Special Envoy for Climate is supporting F4L with a $1.2 million grant under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Fertilize Right Initiative.

Aligned with F4L, the Vision for Adapted Crops and Soils (VACS), launched by U.S. Special Envoy for Global Food Security Dr. Cary Fowler in February 2023 and championed by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, provides a unique opportunity to strengthen and expand the U.S.-Brazilian partnership by leveraging the unique and complementary strengths of both countries to support innovation in soil health management and developing climate-resilient crop varieties. In 2022, Embassy Brasília helped to recruit four world-class institutions—the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation, USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, the University of Florida, and the International Fertilizer Development Center—to develop research projects to improve fertilizer-use efficiency.  

The outcomes of the F4L initiative could help reduce dependency on imports, mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, and provide lasting solutions to advance sustainable agricultural systems in Brazil, the United States, and worldwide. 

VACS focuses on more profitable and sustainable land use and production systems and includes a decision framework that can be used to help target investments at field to national levels on the decisions likely to have the greatest impact, including where to plant, what to plant, what management system to use, and how to apply the management system based on local conditions each year. 

The rich bilateral history between the two countries provides linkages to expand these agricultural research efforts. This new partnership in agricultural research is also a fitting tribute to the 200th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the United States and Brazil in 2024 as the two countries work together to combat climate change and food insecurity.

Source : state.gov

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