… 4,000 square miles of carbon sink gone, and all of the associated biodiversity with it.

The timeline:

Cargill builds a port in the Brazilian State of Mato Grosso. A soy version of a gold rush ensues, destroying thousands upon thousands of square miles of the Amazon. From Agriculture Online:

[The farmers] bought land in three- or four-year payments (of soybeans). Then, with the expansion of land, they needed to buy more machinery, so they did.

An unfavorable exchange rate plunges these farmers into debt:

Weiland said he continues to receive many calls from soybean producers asking for help. The requests are to help sell land, create partnerships, buy and lease-back, or any way to pay down debt.

An attempt is made to stop the damage:

The Brazilian Vegetable Oils Industry Association … said its members would no longer buy soybeans from newly deforested fields in the nine-state Amazon biome, starting in the 2006-07 crop season.

In other words, “We have plenty for now, check back with us when this two year moratorium joke ends.” Talk about being a day late and a dollar short. The big three are well aware that there are at least two years worth of beans to milk out of the poor farmers.

Who is kidding whom? When (not if) the supply of beans runs low (the price starts to climb), the big three will start to buy them again from anyone who has them. And when the dirt-cheap supply of soy from the 4,000 square miles of razed rainforest can no longer meet demand, it will start all over again. Biofuel demand is skyrocketing:

ADM profit doubles amid biodiesel, ethanol demand
Demand for ethanol, primarily made from corn in the United States, and biodiesel, a product of soybean oil or rapeseed oil, is rising around the world due to high energy prices and government mandates [and billions in subsidies to boot].

The vultures have landed:

Archer Daniels Midland … on Thursday said it plans to build a biodiesel production facility in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso.