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NDSU Faculty, Staff and Students Experience Agriculture in Nepal

NDSU group at Nepal Agricultural Research Center in Lumle
 
NDSU group at Nepal Agricultural Research Center in Lumle
Eight faculty, staff and graduate students from NDSU Plant Sciences traveled to Nepal over spring break and gained insight on how international cooperation and research efforts help to improve the livelihood of small scale farmers in developing nations.

Eight faculty, staff and graduate students from the NDSU Plant Sciences Department visited with farmers, seed producing groups, and national research stations in Nepal during the 2014 spring break. The objective of the trip was to learn about agriculture in a developing nation and how international cooperation and research efforts help to improve the livelihood of small scale farmers.

Dr. Joel Ransom, NDSU Extension small grains and corn specialist, and Dr. Hans Kandel, NDSU Extension broadleaf crop production specialist, led the team, which included graduate students Ryan Buetow, Jacob Muir, Shana Pederson and Kellie Podliska, as well as research specialists Chad Deplazes and Grant Mehring.  

Students saw first-hand how small scale farmers still utilize ox-drawn wooden plows and apply manure on the terraces of the hill region in Nepal.

“This was an incredible trip to be a part of!” said Kellie Podliska. “Nepal is a beautiful country, and seeing first-hand the growing pains that a developing nation faces was really fascinating. [One] interesting aspect was experiencing subsistence farming. In the U.S., we grow crops as a commodity that we market. In Nepal, they primarily worry about producing enough to support their family until the next year. We were able to eat a meal that was produced completely on site, from the chicken and rice, to the milk and cauliflower. It was an incredible opportunity to learn how different agriculture can be.”

The research stations provided insight into the utilization of improved corn and wheat genetics to increase crop yields.

“It was an amazing experience,” said Buetow. “Nepal is such a beautiful country and it was like going to another world. The terrace agriculture was incredible to see up close and we were lucky enough to visit some research stations and see the projects they are working on to overcome their diverse ag related problems.”

As Dr. Norman Borlaug, the ‘father’ of the Green Revolution, was remembered throughout the world on what would have been his 100th birthday, the team also visited the South Asia Regional Office of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in Kathmandu, Nepal (http://www.cimmyt.org/en/), where Borlaug worked as director of the International Wheat Improvement Program for a time. 

Author: Grant Mehring, 701-231-5183, grant.mehring@ndsu.edu
Editor: Kamie Beeson, 701-231-7123, kamie.a.beeson@ndsu.edu

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