Monday, August 30, 2010

Ecuador: Organic Milk Production and Mobile Vet Clinic

In July, Farmer to Farmer Volunteer Joshua Tubbs traveled to Ecuador to appraise animal production practices and assist veterinarians and producer groups in improving their long-term production, mainly for beef and dairy cattle. His trip was carried out in collaboration with the Kentucky and Ecuador Partners of the Americas Chapters, who implement an "Ecuador Highlands and Amazon Livestock Improvement Project" with Western Kentucky University.

While in Ecuador, Mr. Tubbs traveled to the Tungurahua province and El Chaco, a county in the Amazonian region of Ecuador. He traveled with the Mobile Veterinary Unit to de-worm and give vitamin shots to those farmers who requested the veterinary service. One day he and his Ecuadorian counterparts treated around 70 animals for some 35 farmers of which 1/3 were female. He also gave several seminars in topics ranging from grazing systems to biocontrol to U.S. Livestock Handling Guidelines for organic production.

Mr. Tubbs was also surprised with a birthday cake while in Ecuador (Feliz Cumpleanos!), and he puts into words very well the camaraderie and cultural exchange that many volunteers experience while traveling as a Farmer to Farmer volunteer:
My trip to Ecuador with the Farmer to Farmer program has dramatically changed the way I view things. I learned more from the Ecuadorian culture and people than I could have ever taught the in 15 days. I was impressed to see the changes that have taken place since my last trip in 2005... Beyond the volunteer aspect, I was deeply moved by the giving and sharing nature of the people. The people of El Chaco provided me with meals, gifts, and a place to sleep at night; I was treated as if I had always been there in both Tungurahua and El Chaco and never as a stranger. The Farmer to Farmer program is a wonderful opportunity and I would recommend any one with an attitude of service or volunteerism with…knowledge in agriculture give it a chance.

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