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K-State Today

May 9, 2022

Nelson Villoria named Fulbright U.S. scholar to Brazil

Submitted by Mary Bowen

Nelson Villoria, associate professor of agricultural economics at Kansas State University, will serve as a Fulbright U.S. scholar in Brazil.

Villoria will work with colleagues at the Escola Superior de Agricultura Luis de Queiroz at the Universidad de Sao Paulo as part of a project to understand the role of Brazil's farmers and agribusinesses in reducing deforestation. The study is a part of a broader effort to investigate the conditions under which supply chain actions can help to reduce deforestation.

"I am thrilled to have this opportunity to work with the faculty and researchers at ESALQ," Villoria said. "This project will identify the incentives needed for corporate policies in Brazil's soy sector to reduce forest loss and will provide a framework to study other forest-risk commodities in the tropics."

According to Villoria, deforestation is a major cause of biodiversity loss and the second largest contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions after fossil fuels. Proposed legislation in the United States, the European Union and the United Kingdom to curb tropical deforestation relies on policies that assume that agribusiness corporations can use their market power to compel farmers in the tropics to change production practices. Soy is central to these policies as it drives land clearing in Brazil, the world's main soy producer, and host of large, vulnerable ecosystems. Yet, with strong competition for soy among actors with different environmental priorities, it is an open question whether the current structure of soy markets is compatible with the intended policy objectives.

As a Fulbright scholar, Villoria will share knowledge and foster meaningful connections across communities in the United States and Brazil. Fulbrighters engage in cutting-edge research and expand their professional networks, often continuing research collaborations started abroad and laying the groundwork for forging future partnerships between institutions. Upon returning to their institutions, labs and classrooms in the United States, they share their stories and often become active supporters of international exchange, inviting foreign scholars to campus and encouraging colleagues and students to go abroad.

"The agricultural economics department is pleased that Dr. Villoria was selected for the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program," said Allen Featherstone, professor and department head. "This is a great opportunity for him to develop a deep understanding of agriculture and agribusinesses in Brazil. Nelson will bring all of that knowledge and research back to K-State to share with students, faculty and producers in Kansas and around the nation."

The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program and is supported by the people of the United States and partner countries around the world. Alumni include 61 Nobel Laureates, 89 Pulitzer Prize winners, 76 MacArthur fellows and thousands of leaders and world-renowned experts in academia and many other fields across the private, public and nonprofit sectors.