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Australian and New Zealanders Learn About American Agriculture

Australian and New Zealanders Learn About American Agriculture

Story by Dee Ann Littlefield and Quenna Terry

Dale and Cheryl Swinburn welcomed the Nuffield Scholars, agricultural professionals from Australia and New Zealand, to his wheat and cotton farm in Tulia, Texas. Swinburn showcased the improved water efficiencies with his Low-Energy Precision Application (LEPA) multi-functional irrigation center pivot systems and minimum tillage methods.

Greg Sokoroa, engineer with the USDA-Natural Resource Conservation Service gave a talk on irrigation efficiency while Jeff Lewter, with the USDA-NRCS in Tulia spoke on conservation practices in the area.

Entomologist Greg Cronholm talked about the use of pollinators in crop pollination, and factors that have caused a decline in bees in the last several years.

�I just want to look at what I can do and relate it back to my own business, and what I can implement and maybe able to pick up something from a rancher or what programs they use,� says Ben Hooper, an Australian bee keeper on the tour. �My eyes are wide open.�

The evening ended with a barbecue at Dan and Linda Taylor�s museum and barn on their cotton farm in Ropesville. Taylor presented a video on the cotton processing, ginning, warehousing and cottonseed processing. The Nuffield Scholars then toured his museum with antique tractors and ginning equipment to see how mechanization changed the face of the cotton industry on the High Plains.

Steve Verett, executive vice president of the Plains Cotton Growers, Inc., gave a history of cotton production in the area, as well as issues, such as the boll weevil, that cotton farmers have effectively addressed. Verett said innovation and vision helped the industry survive and thrive. Verett explained that cotton is well suited for the High Plain�s climate and good soil, making the area home to one of the great areas of concentrated cotton production in the world.

The Nuffield Scholars are traveling the globe for six weeks, looking to develop potential and promote excellence in all aspects of Australian agriculture through the adoption of local and international best practices and the networking of industry leaders.

For more information on the Nuffield Scholars, visit their website at www.nuffield.com.au. For more information on the NRCS in Texas, visit our website at www.tx.nrcs.usda.gov.

Tulia cotton farmer Dale Swinburn (center) gave the Nuffield Scholars a tour of his farming operation while entomologist Greg Cronholm (right) visited with Australian bee keeper Ben Hooper (left) about the use of bees as pollinators for farming crops.

New Zealand Dairy Farmer Desiree Reid and Australian bee keeper Ben Hooper enjoy some Texas hospitality at a barbecue dinner at Dan and Linda Taylor�s barn and farm equipment museum in Ropesville, Texas.
 

Tulia cotton farmer Dale Swinburn (center) gave the Nuffield Scholars a tour of his farming operation while entomologist Greg Cronholm (right) visited with Australian bee keeper Ben Hooper (left) about the use of bees as pollinators for farming crops.

New Zealand Dairy Farmer Desiree Reid and Australian bee keeper Ben Hooper enjoy some Texas hospitality at a barbecue dinner at Dan and Linda Taylor�s barn and farm equipment museum in Ropesville, Texas.

New Zealand grain crop farmer Paul McGill analyzes a handful of grain from Dale Swinburns wheat field in Tulia, Texas. NRCS civil engineer Greg Sokora discusses various water-efficient irrigation methods with Australian farmers Alan Redfern and Brad Stillard.

New Zealand grain crop farmer Paul McGill analyzes a handful of grain from Dale Swinburns wheat field in Tulia, Texas.

NRCS civil engineer Greg Sokora discusses various water-efficient irrigation methods with Australian farmers Alan Redfern and Brad Stillard.