Wednesday, May 19, 2010

On Tuesday, Hunnicutt Farms had the opportunity to host two international guests. Hosting guests is something that has been done on the farm over the years for as long as I can remember. Getting to share what we do is always a great experience.

About 2 weeks ago, I was contacted by Don Vogel, who volunteers for the Grand Island Area Council for International Visitors, about having a farm visit from a French Environmental Lawyer. I agreed not knowing exactly what I was getting into, especially because the words "environmental" and "lawyer" were involved.

Spending time explaining what our equipment and the the technology in them do, is always fun. It doesn't matter if it is an international visitor or a reporter or someone from town, it is always great to see their reactions. This time was no different. Explaining how the tractor can drive, and turn around on the ends, by itself, always elicits a response. And, we get to show how we are saving seed, fertilizer, and chemical with the different technologies within the equipment and computers, as well.

When we finally sat down and talked about issues, it was very intriguing. Our main guest was Ms. Capucine Agathe Chloe CHAMOUX, who is the lawyer for Federation Nationale Syndicats d’Exploitants Agricoles (FNSEA, National Federation of Agricultural Workers’ Unions). We found out that this group is very similar to Farm Bureau, so we began to see we had a "friendly" on the farm. We had a great discussion revolving around all the issues of the day. Everything from GMOs to locally grown food to climate change/carbon to bees to water rights. It was extremely interesting to learn a little about how their carbon trading program works and the benefits farmers receive. We did explain some of the concerns we have about any Climate Change legislation that passes. There is also a push in France for more locally grown foods like we are seeing here. I think our explanation of our challenges of producing locally grown in Nebraska year round, helped her understand why a true "locally grown" program won't work here right now.

At the end of the day what I remembered was that farmers are farmers. It doesn't matter if they are in Nebraska or California or France. We want to work hard, produce food/fuel/fiber, and take care of the ground that we live on. I do think we shocked her "language expert", when we said we take care of our soil because it is the right thing to do, not because we have regulations or are getting paid for it. We are not here to poison the ground or water or air. We are here to leave the ground in better shape when we pass it on to the next generation. I believe they understood that by the end.

We had the opportunity to show off the farm, discuss the issues of the day and hopefully made a contact that will last many years into the future.

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