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The Road Ahead – Nuffield Global Focus Program 2012 begins!

The journey begins!  I am writing while 35,000 feet above the ground, en route to Sydney, Australia, via Vancouver.  I am guessing we are somewhere above Lake Superior right now.   This morning, I reviewed my itinerary for the next 6 weeks and the only word to describe it is ‘intense’.  Upon arriving in Canberra on Wednesday, I’ll meet up with the 7 Australians that I’ll be travelling with.  After several months of email, it will be nice to finally meet everyone.  Thursday will be filled with meetings at the Australian parliament buildings (Canberra is the Australian Capital).  Friday will include meeting with the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), reviewing our travel plans and getting to know each other better (we’re even doing personality profiles!)  During the course of our 40 some days together, I’ m sure we’ll need some conflict resolution skills.

I’m going to  try to keep these posts short and frequent.  I don’t have any photos yet, but I took some at the farm a couple weeks ago. The first one is looking out our laneway and the second one is a field that will be in corn this year, less than 3 months til planting! 

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Global Focus Program – ‘All Ag, All the Time’

I thought I’d share more details about the Global Focus Program and where it will take me over the next 6 weeks.  ‘All Agriculture, All the time’ will be the (unofficial) theme.  This program allows Canadian Nuffield Scholars to join with Australian counterparts to travel as a group to learn about global agriculture.  I’ll be travelling with 7 Australian Scholars from all over Australia.  I meet up with my travelling companions on February 15th in Canberra, Australia.  After a couple days of briefing, we head to New Zealand to meet with farmers and agriculturalists in the Christchurch area.  And then on to Europe.  Through the six weeks of travel, we will visit the following areas:

  • Canberra, Australia
  • Christchurch, New Zealand
  • Rotterdam,Netherlands
  • London, England
  • Washington DC
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Regina, Saskatchewan
  • Sacramento, California
  • Fresno, California
  • Mexico City, Mexico
  • Cuidad Obregon, Mexico
  • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Brasilia, Brazil
  • Sao Paulo, Brazil

Here is an approximate map of the journey.

14 Days Until the Nuffield Global Focus Program begins!

It finally hit me.  I am boarding a plane in less than 14 days bound for Sydney, Australia.  I will be gone for more than 40 days, travelling to 8 countries on 4 continents.  It will be a long time away from home and family.  I am sure there will be times when I am ready to go home, and that my wife and kids wish I was home too.

However, this is an opportunity not to miss.  I am grateful my employer, wife and kids (although they are young) support my participation in this adventure.  I will have many stories to share about farming around the world when I return home, providing great material for many bedtime stories.

We are all set up with skype and all I will need is a decent wifi connection to have a direct connection home.  This got me thinking about how small the world really has become.  A Nuffield Scholar that travelled in the late 70s relayed a story about how he stayed in his kid’s lives when he was away.  He taped himself reading a story book and mailed the book and tape home for them to listen to.  A pretty good idea!

Nuffield Farming Scholarship 2012 – Crosby Devitt

I am having a ‘Nuffield Day’ today.  I was recently awarded a Nuffield Canada Farming Scholarship for 2012 and am planning to use this blog as way to share my travel and research experiences.  My Nuffield Farming Scholarship will involve a group travel study with 7 Australian scholars to 8 countries on 4 continents.  My travel begins on February 13, 2012, when I leave Canada for Canberra, Australia to meet up with my fellow travellers.  Lots more to come…