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Business & Pleasure, A Trip South of the Border

26 Oct

I love when my hobbies in life can collide.  At the start of this month I was able to combine my love for traveling with my love for agriculture.  My husband and I took off for Mexico for a short getaway, a short conference, and a whole lot of sun!

 Bayer Crop Science has been a company that I have always been impressed with, but not more than in the past few years.  As a chemical company it might seem easy to stick their heads in the sand and just do what they have always done, which is provide safe and effective products for farmers all over the world, Bayer however is looking around at world wide agriculture and seeing that there are conversations that need to start happening.  Their commitment to agriculture goes beyond just the farmer, they work for the bees, the crops, and the soil.  Their slogan of “Science for a Better Life” is being played out right now at the forefront of their efforts.

 So on our little getaway we attended Bayer’s Horticulture Symposium.  Attended mostly by industry folks and farmers from all the Americas.  Along with Matt and I, Marie Bowers Stagg (OregonGreen Blogger) and her husband Tristan also attended to represent the Pacific Northwest.  It was interesting being at a conference where we had to listen through the voice of a translator for most of the presentations, but more interesting was that the challenges that people are facing all over the world are challenges that I am facing on my farm in Oregon.  The life of a farmer isn’t easy, pests find your crop no matter what, and learning new and innovative ways to take care of that pest is something that all farmers are looking for.  Another issue that was talked about at length was the challenge with finding good consistent sources of labor, a problem that has prompted more creativeness when it comes to robotics and machinery.

It wasn’t all about our problems out on the farm though.  We heard presentations about what customers around the world are looking for.  They like quality shown to them in certifications and standards, traceability, sustainability, and social responsibility.  So finding ways to balance all of that while at the same time encouraging the next generation of farmers, improving people’s lives and livelihoods, and taking care of the environment will be an ongoing conversation for as long as I’m farming I am sure.  It is encouraging though to see that these are real conversations that people are having on so many levels, from the dirt up you could say.

We were also fortunate enough to head out into Mexico for some farm touring.  We met a jack fruit farmer and a mango farmer.  Jack fruit is a large (watermelon sized) fruit that is grown in trees.  You won’t believe it until you see it!  95% of the jack fruit grown in Mexico is exported to the US, where it can be found in almost any Asian market across the country.

  I know, I know…let the jokes of “It looks like you swallowed a jack fruit” begin!
 Mangoes on the other hand are largely consumed in Mexico.  Only 35% of the mango production heads off to the export market. In the photo below is a 20 year orchard of mango trees.  To harvest the fruit, which grows throughout the very tall canopy, no ladders are used.  Just really good tree climbers, long poles for reach, and harnesses to keep from falling!

I did say there was a lot of sun involved and while it was a bit hot and humid for someone 7 1/2 months pregnant, it was still a great time to getaway!  We did go fishing one day and had a small amount of luck, the break from the humidity on land though was worth every second!

  We also were able to enjoy many sunsets on the beach, I had my share of mocktails, and some really really good food!

 I can’t thank our field man Barry Duerk from Bayer enough for inviting us to come and enjoy this experience of learning more about agriculture around the world, but also what they are looking at from their perspective.  I don’t think that there are easy conversations when it comes to how to best serve all parties involved in the agriculture industry.  It’s a complex system filled with farmers, pests, consumers, marketers and above all the ongoing challenge of getting enough food to feed the world.  I don’t think you can ignore the pure politics or complicated nature that gets injected into every piece of that puzzle.  But what I think we can do is keep having these conversations and keep working to find that balance that will probably never be fully achieved, but can always be improved and worked towards.  From what I saw on our trip south of the border, Bayer is going to be a player in these conversations for a long time to come!

Whew…What a Whirwind!

5 Jul

Sorry I’ve been MIA for awhile….below are all my awesome reasons why…

First there was some big event…that had a lot of prep work!

2013-06-20_14-34-58_327 2013-06-20_16-02-44_148 2013-06-20_16-24-50_368 2013-06-20_16-31-28_522After lots of help from friends and family….We tied the knot!!!

999019_10151508095902749_395686288_n 1044513_10151508114292749_1277856068_n 1045212_10151508096227749_29426901_nAfter that…we abandoned the farm for a more humid climate…Hello Costa Rica!

DSC02357 DSC02387 DSC02465Then returned only to find that in fact, crops do not wait for anyone!  The crimson had been swathed while we were gone and now it is time to combine!

2013-07-03_13-29-14_177 2013-07-03_16-50-26_910Meanwhile the 4th of July hits, and with this our small little town is transformed into a mecca of rodeo craziness! Welcome St. Paul Rodeo Fans!

2013-07-02_21-26-27_964And of course we had to go in the parade with the hot rod! Where we won first place! 2013-07-04_08-43-07_143  2013-07-04_10-28-45_823There you have it folks, all my great, fun, awesome reasons for not having time to blog the last couple of weeks!  So happy 4th of July, I hope it was a great day of Independence for everyone and enjoy a wonderful weekend!

Signing off now as Mrs. Brenda Frketich (And don’t ask me how to say my new last name, I’m still practicing how to say it myself!)

ps…Thank you Murray Photography for the amazing wedding photos!!!

10 Things you need to know when dating a Fisherman…

9 Jul

This one isn’t all about farming…it covers a few more of the “normal” sides of my life about love & fishing.  Just for those who do not know…I’m in love with a fisherman, a hunter, an outdoor enthusiast, a landscape designer, a wood furniture builder, an excavator, a kind man, a grateful man, and a humble man…I’m also lucky enough that all of these men (seeing as multiple boyfriends can be frowned upon) are part of one awesome guy!  He claims that since we have known each other for so long, he has nothing new to learn about me (ha ha), I on the other hand have learned so much I could probably write a book.  The first chapter would probably be entitled, “How to Date a guy with 100 hobbies”….but until then I’ll just share a bit about what I’ve learned about dating a fisherman first.

  1. 4:30am is not early, if you’re up to catch fish.
  2. Don’t plan things on Saturdays or Sundays, or really any day of the week during fishing season…because it will get canceled.
  3. Patience is key, they truly don’t call it catching for a reason.
  4. You don’t have to be quiet, but you also don’t have to talk the whole time…sitting in silence it totally fine while out on the water.
  5. It’s important to watch your pole, because the moment you aren’t watching it…that’s when you’ll miss the fish!
  6. If you do happen to get a fish on, it’s quite alright to be given stern advice at a hurried pace at for the next 5 minutes while you reel him in (at first I called it yelling, but I was assured that it wasn’t)…don’t worry the fisherman still loves you, he’s just a bit excited!
  7. It’s very important to tell the fisherman well in advance of having to go to the bathroom RIGHT NOW…give him some time to get back to the dock otherwise you’ll be peeing in a bucket.
  8. Bringing along food is a must, the fisherman won’t always tell you to bring food, you’re the guest out there on the water…you bring the food, period.
  9. And when you bring food…whatever you do don’t bring a banana onto the boat…I don’t know why, but this a rule and it’s not to be crossed.
  10. Understand that fishing is their true love, you’re great and all, but don’t mess with their fishing!!

My fisherman & I after a great day on the river!

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