PONTIAC – Valdivino “Gunna” De Souza worked in agriculture for years in South America but never had the chance to ride in a combine. That all changed this fall with a visit to Livingston County.
De Souza and his wife, Raquel, visited a cornfield in the process of being harvested north of Pontiac in late October. He heard about Central Illinois when visiting Chicago and already knew about the legendary Route 66.
“I want to come back and visit a lot of farms,” De Souza said after riding in a John Deere 9770 combine along the Mother Road.
The retired seed salesman from Brazil has some friends interested in coming to the United States to see agriculture first hand and he would like to organize farm tours someday.
“They have different things they could do here in America and I want to bring them to visit – especially here on the farm.”
Brazil is a top soybean producer and also produces cotton and corn. De Souza says they have one of the biggest ethanol plants in the world along with plenty of cattle and hogs. De Souza considered his ride in the combine “pretty fun” since he has never done it in his 30 years working in ag.
De Souza is from the Mato Grosso region of Brazil which is located in the western part of the country and is the third largest state by area in Brazil. According to Wikipedia, Mato Grosso means “thick bushes.”
The couple spent much of a recent fall day visiting area attractions such as the Hangar Museum in Chatsworth with 1950s and pre-1950s tractors, the Specialty Shops of Fairbury and framed art pieces along Route 66 in Chenoa and Pontiac.