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CAFES Fosters International Partnerships

By Jenny Bjelland
UW-RF News Bureau
[Photos]

DEC. 3, 2004--The University of Wisconsin-River Falls College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences faculty have been involved in numerous training programs and information exchanges this year with colleagues from around the world.

Following a two-week trip of several CAFES faculty to Nicaragua this past summer, Nicaraguan Carlos Ruiz traveled to UW-RF for a two-month stay. Ruiz is the vice dean of the animal science faculty at the Universidad Nacional Agraria, an agricultural university with about 4,000 students in Managua, Nicaragua. He specializes in forage agronomy.

UW-RF Professors Dennis Cooper and Lou Grueb were two of the CAFES faculty members who visited Nicaragua and then played host to Ruiz. According to Cooper, the purpose of the exchange was to share ideas between the two institutes, UNA and CAFES, because they have a common interest in forage production, dairy production and beef production.

Grueb said they scheduled activities that fit in with Ruiz's interests, research, and teaching work. They toured a variety of farms that utilize grazing and attended a grazing conference in La Crosse, Wis. A trip at the end of September to the 2004 Farm Technology Days in Wisconsin's Chippewa County concluded Ruiz's visit.

The faculty exchange program between UW-RF and UNA was funded by a grant received from the U.S. Agency for International Development.

In September, nine Albanians also made the trip to UW-RF for a two-week visit. The Albanians' interests were split between dairy product and meat product manufacturing.

CAFES' food science faculty Ranee May and Steve Watters hosted the group, for what May called a "train-the-trainers" session. May and Watters had been contracted through Land O'Lakes International to provide training to the Albanians on food safety, formulations, and production methods, so, in turn, the individuals could train other Albanians within the industry.

The Albanians sharpened their skills through a series of discussions, hands-on labs and tours. They visited a variety of production facilities throughout Wisconsin and Minnesota including Louie's Finer Meats, Inc., a Jenni-O Turkey plant, and the Land O'Lakes plant in Pine Island, Minn.

Guests from Serbia-Montenegro arrived at UW-RF at the end of September to wrap up the third and final portion of a two-year U.S. Department of Agriculture program.

The project began when Cooper and Dennis Cosgrove, a UW-RF plant and earth science professor, traveled to Serbia-Montenegro to learn about the country's agricultural methods and needs. A few months later, Cooper and Cosgrove returned to Serbia-Montenegro and presented seminars to producers and professionals in research institutes.

The project concluded after seven residents of Serbia-Montenegro traveled to UW-RF for a two-week visit. According to Cooper, the trip gave the young agriculturalists from the developing countries good exposure to American people and American life. They also experienced agriculture in the United States by visiting a variety of farms and attending World Dairy Expo.

A visit from four Romanians wrapped up yet another USDA project similar to that with Serbia-Montenegro. However, this was the second group from the Romanian agriculturalists to travel to UW-RF. The four Romanians were part of the Norman E. Borlaug International Science and Technology Fellows Program, which works to educate scientists in developing countries by teaming them with professionals in the United States that share similar expertise areas. CAFES Professors Steve Kelm, Gary Onan, Larry Baumann and Tom Goerke each served as a mentor to a Romanian during the their five-week visit.

CAFES international activities are an opportunity that faculty members initiate if they want to be involved in international development, according to Stephen Ridley, dean of CAFES.

The involvement of faculty in international activities also benefits the students at UW-RF. "The involvement has brought a broader vision of the world into the classroom," says Cosgrove.

Faculty learn a lot as well. According to Cooper, the knowledge he has gained visiting other counties provides more insight into the agriculture industry within the United States.

Photo caption: Dr. Nebojsa Jovanovic of Serbia-Montenegro visits a western Wisconsin dairy farm while on an agricultural exchange trip to UW-River Falls.

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Last updated: Tuesday, 22-Jun-2010 16:21:18 Central Daylight Time

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