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Welcoming YPARD Brazil representative: Gustavo Togeiro de Alckmin

Gustavo Togeiro de Alckmin, YPARD Brazil representativeWe are delighted to welcome our new YPARD Country representative for Brazil: Gustavo Togeiro de Alckmin.

Gustavo studied Agriculture at the College of Agriculture “Luiz de Queiroz” of the University of São Paulo and holds a Msc. on Agricultural Systems for Local Development from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid and the University of Montpellier SupAgro.

Coming from a long family line of agricultural producers, Gustavo is driven to make a strong impact and collaborating for the agricultural sector. His goal is to contribute to improve farmers’ life-standards and to work for healthy and diverse agricultural communities.

After starting his studies on Agriculture, Gustavo had the chance to visit different ag-production sites across South-America, Europe and the U.S. An incredible opportunity, which made him appreciate the values and stewardship farmers from everywhere naturally have. 

His research interests are oriented to Livestock, Forage Management and Remote Sensing Techniques; distinct science areas that he aspire to combine, granting farmers and ranchers a useful set of new tools: “It is fascinating to me how different millenary pastoral societies were able to design Sustainable Food Production Systems that are based on livestock and grazing. From gauchos, cowboys, Massais, Touaregs – they are all managing the same key-elements.”

Nevertheless, currently several rangeland and forage systems are threatened by land degradation and poor management and Gustavo is keen to find solutions that could help producers cope with this issue: “Information about certain parameters is key for good forage managing practices. Unfortunately, to acquire such information is costly and labor intensive, reasons for which management practices are usually based on poor-information, damaging the environment and yielding unsatisfactory economic results to producers”.

Gustavo seeks to shorten the distance between current available technologies, which are still not adapted to the agricultural context and could empower the present-day farmer. “My great-great grandfather visited his daughter’s small-farm in the beginning of the 1900’s and decided to install a hydraulic ham on a creek that ran a few hundred feet down slope from her house. When this news spread over, neighbors would gossip about this old-man (possibly crazy) which is looking for tools to ‘build a gadget that would make water run upstream’”.

In Gustavo’s view, the remarkable point about this story is that no one in that community had the information that a hydraulic ram could grant them year-round running water at minimum effort and cost.  “Thankfully, today internet access and mobile networks are changing this scenario. For me, a mind-blowing picture are Massais receiving text-messages about drought alerts. The same technology a research-center I used to work for was setting up in southern-Brazil.” 

Currently, Gustavo founded a startup for agricultural innovation and further developing a research he started during his Msc. As a short-term scholar at Kansas State University, during his final period as a Masters’ student, Gustavo worked to develop a methodology for assessing forage biomass using low-cost Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and modified digital cameras. 

In a few months, he expects to be providing farmers with a technology that can help better manage rangelands and pasturelands “We will be providing farmers with something that is as easy to use as a smart-phone and which can provide them with the information necessary to make the best agronomical decisions. And the best part is that we are working to make it as cheap as dirt: it should pay-off on day one.”

In Brazil’s growing urban scenario, becoming YPARD national representative represents a new challenge for Gustavo in order to keep mobilizing the youth for agriculture in his country.

“To join YPARD as Brazil’s representative is a great honor. I am passionate about Agriculture since my childhood. It was at an early aged that I realized I was destined to work amidst farmers. I was usually the boy running around with a cowboy’s hat and wearing boots.  I recall asking (i.e obliged) my parents to move me to a school seven miles away from home, so I could hang around with kids that would horseback ride to school or work alongside their parents in the vineyards at my hometown.”

I believe this feeling of commitment to a rural-life and agricultural sector is able to foster positive changes in the Brazilian scenario.” After all we should be thinking about who will farm and care for nature conservation in Brazil in 30, 40 years. How will we shape our country and which is the society we will leave for our grandchildren is one of the values farmers from all over the World share.”    

We thank Rebeca Souza, former country representative for Brazil, for her hard work with us.

Welcome on Board, Gustavo & let’s build a stronger YPARD Brazil!

If you are from or based in Brazil, and want to get involved in YPARD Brazil activities, please contact Gustavo at ypardbrazil@gmail.com.