The highway called BR-163 in northern Brazil isn’t much to look at. It’s a narrow, two-lane strip of bumpy blacktop that can’t match most Iowa county roads.

But as Iowa Farm Bureau members learned last week during the 2020 Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) Market Study Tour, the Brazilian government has paved portions of BR-163, which connects Brazil’s soybean-growing heartland to river ports near the Amazon River.

“It’s a game-changer,” said Dave Miller, a consultant and former IFBF economist, who accompanied the 19 members on the market study tour. “It’s a very big deal that the road is finally paved.”

The improved highway has the potential to...