WRITTEN BY: Olivia Rogers (Ogrogers@ncsu.edu)
Currently, Egyptian and Jordanian cattle and dairy farmers are facing multiple challenges that are hindering the growth of their farms and businesses. Significant problems include outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease among cattle, lack of water and inability to maintain a steady supply of feed.
In order to help solve these challenges, the USDA-FAS sponsored fellows from Egypt and Jordan to join a Cochran Program training in the U.S. for two weeks. NC State’s CALS International Programs office hosted the training.
The program began in Raleigh where the fellows spent one-week touring local farms and institutions. The fellows spent the second week in Missouri with NC State CALS International Programs staff and a representative from the USDA-FAS. In Missouri, they visited beef units and a variety of other institutions.
This training was part of the Cochran Fellowship Program which focuses on agriculture training. Ten fellows with expertise and interest in dairy and livestock management were selected. Fellows managed or owned farms that focused on either beef and dairy herds or only dairy.
The goal of this training was to exchange knowledge and train the international fellows in novel agricultural methods for maintaining livestock genetics, mastering dairy and livestock management practices and maintaining livestock nutrition.
Dr. Andrew Ofstehage, who is the program coordinator for CALS Global Academy, coordinated with a variety of institutions for the fellows to visit while in Raleigh. Ofstehage says it was important to provide the fellows with a chance to tour local institutions around Raleigh because they “are diversified in terms of market access and in terms of what they’re growing.” The institutions in North Carolina have a variety of products that farmers focus on, and Ofstehage says, “All of the farms and businesses we visited in North Carolina had direct sales relationships with consumers.” It was an interesting model for the fellows to observe.
After a week of visiting institutions, such as Baldwin Beef and NC State’s College of Veterinary Medicine, the team traveled to Missouri to continue their training. In Missouri, the focus was on the production and availability of commodities, such as hay and corn as well as beef management practices. Ofstehage explains that visiting both states created some diversity in what the fellows were learning. He says, “Missouri farmers were likely to have more wholesale relations, and in North Carolina, fellows saw more diversity of agriculture and a lot more diversity in the market access for agriculture.” Both states provided a variety of knowledge at different scales and access to livestock feed.
The training the fellows received while in the U.S. will help them implement ways to overcome the challenges they are facing on their farms back home. Each fellow developed a unique action plan based on the content of the training and the challenges at their own farms.
Ofstehage says, “These programs are a way for NC State to contribute to the improvement of agricultural conditions abroad, and to deepen U.S relations with Egypt and Jordan.” Ofstehage says through these programs, NC State is able to fulfill its mission to share its expertise in agriculture so that relationships and knowledge can be deepened abroad to meet grand challenges.