All good things must come to an end.
- 1 Meeting with the 1st female under secretary for SAGARPA
- 1 press conference
- 3 universities
- 5 presentations
- 28 hours of bus rides
- countless new Mexican food tastings
- 28 hours of sleep (in six nights)
- 6 flights
- 3 alligators
- 1 monkey
- many slippery floors
- 1 wrist fracture
- many laughs
- inside jokes
- broken comfort zones
- opened eyes
- sensory overload
- humbling experiences
- goose bumps and tears
- and countless new friends
……it’s time to go home.
I believe I speak for all participants when I say that we had a life changing experience this past week. We can only hope that the women (and men) who came to hear our presentations learned half as much from us as we learned from them. Our lives will be forever changed as result of this trip.
In my view, it’s important to support these types of efforts which will help improve dairy production across all countries. Consumer confidence in the dairy supply chain recognizes no borders. An event impacting consumer confidence in another country can have a negative ripple effect on dairy throughout the world.
On the bus ride to our last presentation, I had the opportunity to ask our host, Bernardo, to share his thoughts about our time together. He replied with the following comments:
- “I’m positive these types of changes are important to find out that the problems and opportunities are the same across both countries.”
- “We all share the common goal of providing for the well being of our families.”
- “We’re not adversaries.”
- “The women can see that changes can be made through the vision we provided them.”
- “This trip met the expectation to build long term relationships.”
- “I am grateful to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to take this risk on this historic effort.”
Thank you to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture for the invitation to participate in this trip. Thank you to Midwest Dairy and our dairy farmer funders, who supported my participation. Thank you to SAGARPA and our host, Bernardo. Your hospitality made our experience better than we could have imagined. Thank you to deb Vander Kooi, our dairy farmer who joined me on the trip. It was great to have the chance to get to know her and to hear her story of faith, family and farm.