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The Eloy Carlos Heringer Experimental Extension and Research Center (CEPEC) is a Company initiative in association with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (MAPA) and the Varginha Pró-Café Foundation. It is located in the city of Martins Soares, in the forest zone of Minas Gerais, at an altitude of 740 m and has an experimental cultivated area of 10 ha.

Considered a national benchmark for technological development in high-altitude coffee cultivation, it was inaugurated in 1994 and conducts research in five areas: genetic improvement, crop management (pruning, spacing, weed control), beverage quality, phytosanitary controls and, especially, coffee crop fertilization and nutrition. It also maintains a germplasm bank.

CEPEC seeks the most efficient means of working in mountainous regions, where intensive mechanization is impossible, focusing on economic, social and environmental sustainability, and ensures that growers become aware of the research results, both its own and those of other institutions.

The Center also develops projects in commercial areas of neighboring properties and in Fazenda Heringer, which has 1,600 ha of Arabica coffee plantations spread through 22 properties in the states of Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo.

There are internship programs for agronomy students, as well as agricultural and coffee-growing specialists where students learn how to set up experiments and assess the results, become aware of the most important problems associated with high-altitude coffee cultivation and participate in all routine farming activities.

Some projects are undertaken in association with other fertilizer, agrochemical and soil improvement producers in order to improve efficiency and achieve a better cost-benefit ratio in regard to nutrition and weed, pest and disease control.

Around 2,000 growers, students, researchers and specialists visit the Center every year and attend meetings where the research results are disclosed. It also holds lectures by professors, researchers and advisors from various institutions and companies, as well as refresher courses.

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