Brazil could soon challenge the United States’ status as the leader in global beef production as it adopts more U.S.-style production methods, according to Iowa farmers on a two-week study tour of the South American country.

"I think their opportunity for growth is huge," said Jason Brockshus, a Sibley dairy farmer who is among 22 Farm Bureau members learning about livestock production in the Brazilian states of Mato Grosso do Sul and Sao Paulo during the 14-day study tour sponsored by Iowa Farm Bureau. "Their opportunity to grow, and the space and expanse of the country, to see it first hand is impressive."

With 210 million head of cattle in 2014, Brazil’s national cattle herd is more than twice as large as the U.S. herd. The United States, however, produced 11.1 million metric tons of beef last year to rank first globally, while Brazil ranked second with 9.9 million metric tons of beef.

Cattle ranching in Brazil today is...