Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park

by A.J. Sabine

It’s 5:00 a.m. in the morning. Class XIV and I climb aboard our bus with a mission on our drowsy minds: Capture pictures of the “Big Five.” Let me explain. In South Africa, the “Big Five” include: lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and the cape buffalo. With a lurch, the bus moves forward toward Kruger National Park–a 21,000 square kilometer park that the big five call home. Most of us have never, ever been on a safari before. Even the word safari brings to mind images from films like Out of Africa or Tarzan, The Ape Man or for real film buffs, the African Queen. However, nothing prepared me for a 4x4 trek through Kruger National Park.

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Moving Forward While Moving Backward

Moving Forward While Moving Backward

By Kassi Berard and and Patrick Frischhertz

On our visit to South Africa’s sugarcane industry, we were struck by their agronomic potential and how the apartheid and anti-apartheid movements have shaped the present and future of the industry.  We were met with a fantastic first impression with sugarcane growing on rolling hills and the silhouette of mountain ranges in the distance.  For a flat land Louisiana sugarcane farmer, it was quite a sight to see.

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So Long J.B.

So Long J.B.

by Dr. Bobby Soileau

Our tours are dependent on good bus drivers. They can often make the difference in the quality of a tour because of their ability to maneuver a large vehicle.

J.B. has been our driver since we arrived in South Africa last week. Today when we left for Cape Town we said goodbye to J.B. He has been a great driver getting us into many places most couldn’t.

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Things Aren't Always as They Seem

Things Aren't Always as They Seem

by Lee Fairchild

While preparing for my trip, I began to imagine the row crop farms that I would be seeing. In my mind, I expected very little use of technology. In my mind, I prepared to see small farms with "skippy" stands of crops, fully expecting a big yield lag from the U.S.  While their yields aren't quite what we do in the States, I have been impressed. The farms that we visited, Schoeman Boerdery and Leeubank, were the furthest thing from my thoughts.

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Khombi's Cotton

Khombi's Cotton

by Thomas Crigler

Touring Khombi’s farm was an eye-opening experience. It is always a pleasure to visit with somebody who is passionate about what they do, and Khombi’'s passion for agriculture was palpable. When questioned as to his favorite crop, without hesitation he answered “cotton." As a fellow cotton farmer, I immediately knew I liked him. 

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A Diverse Agricultural Day

A Diverse Agricultural Day

by Dr. Bobby Soileau

Our class got to see quite a variety of agriculture today from crops to livestock to crocodiles. It was even better to be greeted so warmly by our hosts.

We began the day in Delmas which is located southeast of Johannesburg. There we met with Brent Parrot who is the general manager of the crop portion of the Schoeman Boerdery. They grow almost 25,000 acres of corn, soybeans and white navy beans. It was an impressive operation that is predominantly non-irrigated.

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We Made It

We Made It

by Dr. Bobby Soileau

After a long but successful flight we arrived in Johannesburg on Wednesday evening. After a wonderful dinner it was time to get some rest. At least that was the wishful thinking of some in our group.

For some of our people it is their first experience with jet lag. We are eight hours ahead of everyone back home, and sometimes you wake up much earlier than you anticipated. That said, everyone was ready as we began our first full day in South Africa.

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A Long Day's Journey into Night

A Long Day's Journey into Night

by A.J. Sabine

When I was told that I was headed to South Africa to explore agriculture with the LSU AgCenter’s Ag Leadership Class XIV I couldn’t have been more excited! Having traveled to Central America with my mentor Mike Danna nearly four years ago as a member of LSU Ag Leadership Class XVIII, the chance to document the trip as he had for me nearly four years ago rung just a little hollow. 

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Mike & Me

Mike & Me

by Dr. Bobby Soileau

Ten years ago we were preparing for the Ag Leadership international trip for Class IX to China. Dr. Mike Futrell was directing the program and he made a great decision. He invited Jim Monroe and Mike Danna of Louisiana Farm Bureau to document the trip. 

That was my first international trip with our program, and it was obvious they needed to be a part of our future trips. The photographs and videos produced for each trip since then have been great for the class and the program. 

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The Master Storyteller

The Master Storyteller

by Carey D. Martin

I met Mike Danna 25 years ago.  I was a 21 year-old college student, and he was a 30 year-old sharp dressed man with a smile and personality that made me feel like I had known him since childhood.  I can still remember that first handshake like it was yesterday.  I even remember the exact spot where I was standing.  It was a handshake that changed my life.

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