World’s soybean king for Brazilian presidency?

As president, Blairo Maggi would likely boost Brazilian ag economy.

You’re probably planning to vote for the less disastrous of the two candidates this year, and wondering how to finagle that. Sorry, I don’t want to demean anybody’s candidate for the presidency of the United States. But I do want to take this moment to talk about the presidency of Brazil.

You might not think you care about who comes out on top, but you might want to reconsider, especially if you are a producer of soybeans and corn.

Elections

You’re probably planning to vote for the less disastrous of the two candidates this year, and wondering how to finagle that. Sorry, I don’t want to demean anybody’s candidate for the presidency of the United States. But I do want to take this moment to talk about the presidency of Brazil.

You might not think you care about who comes out on top, but you might want to reconsider, especially if you are a producer of soybeans and corn.

Elections

In November 2018, Brazilians will elect a new president, and the winner could be the guy who was once that country’s largest individual soybean producer, Blairo Maggi. Blairo was a more relaxed persona when I first met him in the 1980s. He headed up the Grupo Amaggi processing company, owned something like a quarter-million acres of soybean ground, and drove at 100 miles per hour over potholed roads that you and I would approach with extreme caution.

Since then he became governor of Brazil’s top soybean state, and then federal senator. Lately, he accepted the position of Agriculture Minister under the interim government. And now, with the impeachment of the president whose party he supported under impeachment, there’s talk of Blairo putting out his name for the presidency of the Republic in the next elections.

It’s early days, of course, to start talking about who’s running and who’s not, but Blairo Maggi has set himself into a favorable situation from which to contest the office. He did, after all, serve his time as a federal senator. He did divest himself of his interests in the company his father created.

But one rarely abandons his roots.

Having met with Blairo, having visited his family compound in Rondonopolis, Mato Grosso, having known him for all these years, I cannot believe but that he will rise to the challenge of Brazil’s presidency. If he does, and if he wins, you may look for a far more robust ag policy from Brazil, and recognition that so many of that country’s jobs come from agriculture. I would predict easier credit for Brazilian producers, along with an ag insurance program that is easier to use.

So while you’re trying to figure out who to vote for this year, and possibly not liking the choices, the Brazilians are thinking about whom they will put into the office of the presidency. And that could be the man who was once the world’s soybean king.


The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Penton Agriculture.

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