What do a bunch of Iowa farmers do on a trip to Australia………..visit farms and a whole lot more!
This past week, I had the pleasure of accompanying twenty-five other Iowans on a farm market study tour. We covered the eastern third of the country, where crops would grow. The vast middle of Australia is desert. Most people live within fifty miles of the coast, and most farming is in a circle around the outside of the continent.
On this trip, after leaving Iowa at 2pm on Friday, we used three flights to get to Brisbane sometime Sunday afternoon. Still being sleep deprived, I’m very fuzzy about what time we arrived on that afternoon. What felt like, and appears to be two days, was because Brisbane is 15 hours ahead of Iowa time. We really were in the “future”! When I would message with Janice in Iowa, at 6am Monday morning, it was 1pm Sunday afternoon on her clock. Most of the trip, I wasn’t sure what day it was………much less what time.
We visited a research center, where they were studying soybeans. A very little grown crop in Australia. Sugarcane was the main crop grown in this area, but soybeans are being looked at for rotation of crops.
We toured an export terminal owned by Graincorp, which was pretty much sitting idle.
We traveled around Darling Downs, a premier crop growing area. The crops are very diverse, and this area was most like Iowa. We had the privilege to attend a reception, thrown for us by my friend, Meg Kummerow. Meg brought in many of her neighbors near the town of Toowoomba. The sharing of stories and ideas by Australian and Iowan farmers was a highlight of this trip for me!
Some corn is grown in the Darling Downs area for feeding cattle. We toured an eighteen thousand head cattle feeding operation that specialized in Wagyu cattle.
We flew to the city of Canberra, the nation’s capital next. We visited many beautiful sites including parliament.
From Canberra, we traveled by bus back to Sydney. On the way, we stopped at a dairy farm that had been transformed to include processing of the milk. This farmer prided himself in selling his “story”. Back in Sydney with saw amazing sites like the Opera House, The Bridge over Sydney Harbor, and had a great tour and lunch with the Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly representing the Tweed area. Three days in Sydney and twelve days for this trip was, not enough time.
I will be giving presentations on this trip, but I’m thinking it would take several hours to tell. The same with blogging. I’m not going to write a “book” here and now. This will take several blogs covering different stops along our route. There is a Facebook page devoted to this trip. Go to Iowa Farm Bureau Market Study Tours, and ask to join. You will find a wealth of information and great pictures on this page………even some great videos.
I’ll share more about this trip in my next few blogs.