“We are literally eating up the rain forest and are not far away from a dangerous tipping point.”
CAN A FARM BE BIGGER THAN A COUNTRY?
There are hundreds of combine harvesters, fields as far as the eye can see, and thousands of employees—the Bom Futuro (“good future”) farm in the heart of Brazil is one of the world’s biggest farms. Its 2,125 square miles ( more than twice the size of Luxembourg) gets sown with just one kind of seed: soybean. Bom Futuro farm is merely one of thousands of farms owned by World Power Food Inc. that are located in the soybean belt of South America. In fact, Brazil exports between 35 and 45 billion tons of soybeans from this region alone each year to China and Europe and more and more soy fields are being cultivated—in areas where lush savanna or rain forests used to reign. The reason for the soy boom: The soybean is now one of the main food sources for millions of cattle and pigs. When processed into feed, soybeans serve to bolster the meat production in factory farm settings. In the U.S. almost 50% of the beans are used in animal feed. The biggest benefactors of the soy trade are the global corporations. They control the farms and provide the genetically modified soy seeds. At the same time they are the only ones to offer the requisite pesticides and fertilizers, thus enabling the soy monoculture to survive so farms like Bom Futuro can continue to grow.
44 million tons of soybeans are exported by food corporations every year from Brazil alone. 2,125At square miles Brazil’s Bom Futuro soybean farm is the biggest in the world, more than twice the size of Luxembourg.
3% of the surface of Brazil is covered by soy fields, an area nearly the size of Montana.