Carlos Piassi remembers the reaction from other farmers when he started planting a second annual crop at his farm near Uberlândia, in Brazil's grain belt.
No one believed it could be done given the semi-arid region's relatively short rainy season and long dry winter.
"If you had said you were going to plant a safrinha [the small harvest] here five years ago you were called crazy," he says at his farm, Fazenda Campo Alegre. The naysayers were wrong. "The safrinha between last year and this has about tripled," he said.
That Brazil has risen in recent decades to become an agricultural power is no secret. It dominates the sugar, coffee and orange juice markets and competes with the US to be the world's biggest soyabean exporter. What is less understood is that the transformation is not only continuing, it is gaining pace.
Indeed, Brazil's robust agricultural sector is promising to help Latin America's largest country weather one of its toughest economic periods in a decade as a consumer-driven boom slows. And a recent 15 percent plunge in the value of its currency, the real, against the dollar is set to give further impetus to the sector by reducing rising costs that were making its exports uncompetitive.
"The devaluation of the real has been a complete game-changer," said Giovana Araújo, an agribusiness analyst at Brazil's Itaú BBA bank.