Thursday, 29 March 2012


One thing that has struck me, over and over again during my travels, is the passion people have for their subject. I noticed it with Jay Fuhrer in Bismarck and I've just experienced it again with Diego Fontenla in Tres Arroyos.

Diego is a busy man. He gave up the majority of his day today, collecting me from my hotel at 7.30am, to show me around his farming operations, despite his phone ringing whenever it had a signal. Eventually, by mid-afternoon, he had to excuse himself with too much to do, but promised to return later.

True to his word, he returned just before 8pm, to let me know the details of the two visits he had organised for me for tomorrow. Rather than just being allowed to deliver his simple message before racing home, he was instead faced with an Englishman with a host of follow-up questions about his farm. He refused to brush them aside in a rush to get home to see his wife and four children and instead enthusiastically launched into a clear and empassioned explanation of the minutiae of his operation.

(For those who are interested, the gist of Diego's explanation was that, within his rotation, he discovered that crop yields were maintained for approximately five years following the pasture cycle. Beyond this, they tailed off rapidly, hence his 5-year cropping folowed by five years of pasturing of the land. Stretching the cropping to a sixth year meant smaller profits under his all-organic system).

That's one of the most rewarding things about a Nuffield scholarship. I've been given an opportunity to meet and mix with like-minded people. People who, one could say, share my passion for farming. I love it!

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