As this year starts out I have a new and exciting chapter in my life that I will write about. I was chosen in the fall of 2010 as an Eisenhower Fellow for Agriculture (http://www.blogger.com/goog_1935106300wships.org) and will be traveling to Brazil and Argentina. The program I am designing to study encompasses precision ag, remote sensing, Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs), and policy.
I don't know what to expect yet, but you will be able to follow me through this journey all year from the planning stages to the presentation ceremony that will take place in 2012 by General Colin Powell. How exciting it will be to participate in a roundtable discussion with him and other Fellows.
During the planning stage I have contacted previous Eisenhower Fellows for help in making contacts in the countries I will visit. Today I put out feelers to the folks at Ag Leader Technologies (http://www.agleader.com/) and Nick Ohrtman was kind enough to provide me with some possibilities. I also contacted Doug Devries from John Deere (http://www.deere.com/). Doug serves on the agriculture steering committee for Eisenhower Fellowships.
Last week, on the way to visit the in-laws located in Walla Walla, WA the family and I stopped in Dayton, WA to visit Bill Warren who is the 2006 Eisenhower Fellow for Agriculture. It was a pleasure meeting his family and to learn from him some pointers for this new adventure.
So far I have a couple of conversations with former USDA Undersecretary Jim Moseley. Mr. Moseley is the chairman for the Agriculture Fellowships and is a great mentor as well. In the little that we have communicated I have gained tremendous insight to a bigger world, not only abroad but within U.S. agriculture and life.
Another exciting opportunity involves the Nuffield Scholars (http://www.nuffield.com/). The Nuffield Scholars are similar to Eisenhower Ag Fellows, but they live in the "Crown" Countries of Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, etc. Just by becoming a Fellow the world has already become a smaller place with unlimited opportunities for friendships and knowledge.
I will be posting pictures on flickr (www.flickr.com/photos/blairfarms), videos on youtube (unmanned farmer or blair farms), and will update my facebook page (Robert Blair). I am currently working on a website for Blair Farms and hope to have that up and running in a month or so with links to all of this.
As Forest Gump says: "That's all I got to say about that." Please follow me through this journey and don't hesitate to contact me or provide help. We will catch you on the flip side and keep 'r between the fence rows.