Carla Mayara Borges, from Chapado do Cu, Gois, in Brazil, has been awarded a 2017 Nuffield International Scholarship, supported by TIAA-CREF Global Agriculture LLC and TIAA-CREF Global Agriculture II LLC, which are managed by TIAA-CREF Global Asset Management.
Carla selected from a field of excellent applicants from the USA, Brazil, Australia and Chile to join a unique global network of farmers and agri-professionals who develop and disseminate practical research on topics of critical industry importance.
Carla will study farming and technology, with emphasis on technology solutions for machinery maintenance and inventory management of parts relevant to the Brazilian agricultural industry.
Carla is involved her family farming business "Fazendas Nova Gerao", which produces soybeans, corn, sorghum and cotton in the mid-west of Brazil. She led and now manages the development of a degraded pasture-based farm into a cropping enterprise in the state of Mato Grosso, and has a whole-of-business role in professionalising farming and business processes and systems to achieve efficiencies.
"My family moved up from the south to mid-west Brazil in the 1980's, and when I was born, my family had a small farm in the state of Gois. We have been growing over the years and use a lot of technology in our fields. I believe that now is the time to use technology to improve the management of assets."
After graduating from university, I spent my first two years in the family businesses working in different roles to get an overall appreciation of the production and business aspects of family farming, and to understand the demands of a scaled operation.
"I see a lot of technology adopted at the production level, when compared to the workshop and management level. Preventive processes regarding machinery maintenance, including the control of parts is currently a profitability bottleneck, and I believe farm businesses of all scales can achieve efficiencies and cost-savings through reduced breakdowns and lost time, and better spare parts management."
"This came to the forefront for me, when I moved to a frontier area in Mato Grosso by myself to develop land for cropping. Grain production in Brazil is a race against the clock, especially during field operations as we planting two or three crops per year in developing regions that have limited infrastructure, labour and access to other resources. Scheduling maintenance and having access to parts when required presented a huge challenge, exacerbated by the wide range of machinery required for the range of crops in the rotation, and remoteness from a regional services centre. Time lost waiting for mechanics to come on-farm for electronic diagnosis, often with further delays waiting for parts to be sourced and arrive all result in an absurd expense of time and money."
"Many farm businesses in Brazil have a cash flow of millions of dollars and fewer processes than a sandwich franchise, and if they have, they are very informal. Machinery suppliers might not see the importance of improving farm-level efficiencies for fleet management, however I see industry-scale benefits resulting from on-farm professionalization and systemisation."
"My Nuffield research will focus on practical solutions to streamline machinery management that will bring benefits to all in the services and supply chain. With my scholarship, I will look for cost-effective technological solutions for grain production businesses and bring efficiencies at an industry level. They cannot be expensive and complicated, just effective and in the language the operator understands."
"My aim is to bring real solutions to my country, and contribute in a meaningful way to my sector. I participate in many "new generation" farming groups in Brazil, so the new perspectives and knowledge I gather through the Nuffield network can be quickly disseminated and absorbed within our sector to turn this research into reality."
Carla is graduated in Business Administration with double degree at FAE Business School from Curitiba - Brazil and at the University of Applied Sciences Mnster - Germany.
To carry out her research, Carla will travel to Japan, the USA, UK, Indonesia, Singapore and Israel.
This scholarship is kindly supported by TIAA-CREF Global Agriculture LLC and TIAA-CREF Global Agriculture II LLC which are managed by TIAA-CREF Global Asset Management.