Georgia Centers of Innovation Agribusiness

From small-town startups to Fortune 500 enterprises, the Center of Innovation for Agribusiness accelerates the growth and development of Georgia’s number one industry by providing focused industry expertise, product commercialization assistance and access to ground-breaking research. The Center of Innovation for Agribusiness provides the technical industry expertise, collaborative research and partnerships to help the state's #1 industry connect, compete and grow globally. With focus areas in emerging and novel crops, food business development, and precision agriculture, the Center supports Georgia’s agriculture industry and enables companies to access high-growth opportunities for increased success.
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Brazil: Strong Connections to Georgia Agriculture

Our Center of Innovation for Agribusiness Director, Bo Warren, joined other agricultural representatives on Governor Nathan Deal’s recent trade mission to Brazil.  With $1.4 billion in trade in 2014, Brazil is Georgia’s sixth-largest export region. Approximately 40 Brazilian facilities currently operate within Georgia, representing a diverse cross section of industries.

Given that food processing represents such a large aspect of Georgia’s manufacturing sector, it is not surprising to see significant investment from Brazil’s larger food and agriculture providers. Here are a few examples of Brazil’s strong agriculture presence in the state.


JBS Foods

The world’s largest supplier of proteins such as beef, poultry, pork and lamb, JBS Foods is the largest Brazilian investor in Georgia with over 5,000 employees in 21 facilities and 14 communities. The company includes world-renowned brands such as Swift, Pilgrim’s Pride and Gold Kist Farms.

Bo in Brazil 1

   (L-R) Bo Warren, Center of Innovation for Agribusiness; Governor Nathan Deal; Joesley Batista, CEO of J&F Investments (JBS Foods, Pilgrim’s); and Mike Giles, President of the Georgia Poultry Federation, at JBS Global Headquarters.


Governor Deal and a team of delegates met with Joesley Mendonca Batista, CEO for JBS Foods, and discussed how we could continue to serve their needs and capitalize on their investment in Georgia.


Marfrig Global Foods

Sao Paulo-based Marfrig Global Foods is the 3rd-largest Brazilian food-processing company and the 4th-largest beef producer in the world. In 2010, Marfrig acquired Keystone Foods – a supplier of processed meats for major restaurant chains like McDonald’s – which employees approximately 2,200 Georgians mostly near the southwest region of Camilla. Keystone also partners with more than 140 poultry growers that operate nearly 600 poultry houses to produce Keystone’s birds.

The Georgia Poultry Federation President, Mike Giles, presented Marfrig’s Board Chairman Marcos Molina an award recognizing Keystones leadership and loyal membership to the organization.

Bo in Brazil 2

(L-R) Bo Warren, Center of Innovation for Agribusiness; Martin Secco Arias, CEO of Marfrig Foods; Marcos Antonio Molina dos Santos, Chairman of MARFRIG Foods; Governor Nathan Deal; Mike Giles, President of the Georgia Poultry Federation; Frank Ravndal, CEO of Keystone Foods, at Marfrig Foods global offices.


Colombo Industries

Another Brazilian firm with big operations in Georgia is Colombo Industries, whose U.S. headquarters is located in Adel. In 1973, the Colombo family developed their own soybean and peanut harvesting equipment on their Brazilian farms and have expanded to drive shafts and spiders, trucks, buses and other industrial vehicles.

Governor Deal and delegates met with Colombo’s President Luiz Herminio Colombo, as well as with Colombo’s North American President Leandro Santos, to discuss their current investment in Georgia and how we can further leverage each other’s support.


With Georgia’s well-educated workforce, favorable corporate tax structure and advanced logistics structure, it is not surprising why so many international firms choose to invest here.

Since 1995, Georgia has had continuous representation in Brazil to facilitate both trade and investment. The Brazilian Consulate General maintains regional offices in Atlanta, and with just an hour difference between time zones and daily non-stop flights from Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia, the Georgia and Brazilian connection is certain to foster continued growth for the future!


For more information about the Center of Innovation for Agribusiness and how they can help your ag business in the state, visit

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For more information on Georgia’s public-private business partnerships, contact the Georgia Department of Economic Development at 404.962.4000.

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