Coming Home

Coming Home

By Avery Davidson, LSU AgLeadership XV member

There’s a look people get when they’re at the end of a journey. Eyes stay focused on something in the distance. Smiles only come when those tired, weary gazes meet those of a fellow traveler. There’s a moment there; a special connection. The exhausted relief of knowing the trip is over and the shriek of rubber meeting concrete will signal a homecoming. Our homecoming.

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Class XV Returns

Class XV Returns

By Bobby Soileau, Ph.D., LSU AgLeadership Class XV Coordinator

The final day of our international trips are challenging. Everyone is tired and ready to go home, yet we have more visits scheduled. 

So, we forged ahead as we traveled north of Lisbon on Friday to the fishing community of Peniche. There we toured the Nigel fish processing facility located on the Atlantic Ocean. The company processes frozen fish products for a number of European countries. 

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Invasive Species Invading our Market

Invasive Species Invading our Market

By Aaron Lee, LSU AgLeadership Class XV member

I have been around crawfish production from the day I was born and all this time, I never realized that the same industry is thriving thousands of miles from our farm in southern Vermilion Parish! I have heard before now that there was crawfish in this area of the world, but until this trip, I had no idea that the crawfish in Spain are the Louisiana Red Swamp Crawfish; the same crawfish we have back home. They were introduced there in the mid 1970s when a group from Spain heard of them and brought some back from the Monroe area of Louisiana. It turns out that the area that they turned them loose in was an excellent environment for crawfish to thrive in and now, they have pretty much exploded in population. 

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Goooooaaaaallll!

Goooooaaaaallll!

By Karl McDonald, LSU AgLeadership Class XV

I grew up playing soccer as a main sport. I have always had an enormous passion for the sport.  As a child in America, soccer is something you start with because the skills you learn are building blocks for almost any sport. It is simple. It does not require many resources; a ball and some field markers. Even at a young age I could tell there was more to this sport.  Where we in America emphasize the NFL, NBA and MLB the rest of the world put soccer on that pedestal and call it Futbol. Yesterday evening our schedule allowed a few of my colleagues and I to attend a local match. Something more? Oh yeah!!!

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Pata Negra: A Taste of the Iberian Ham in the Highlands

Pata Negra: A Taste of the Iberian Ham in the Highlands

By Neil Melançon, Louisiana Farm Bureau Information & Public Relations Assistant Director

Wednesday saw Class XV visit Iberian ham producer, Eiriz. The small operation processes between 1,000 and 2,000 Iberian hogs each year, sold exclusively in Europe. One of their key techniques is feeding the hogs solely acorns through two months of the year. The feed method alters the taste of the meat and class members got a chance to experience this through a taste test after the tour.

It is safe to say that the class is experiencing fatigue from the long trip. However, thanks to beautiful weather, a pastoral, mountainous backdrop, and some of the most hospitable hosts yet, it’s also safe to say the class feels reinvigorated.  

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The Rain in Spain….

The Rain in Spain….

By Kacie Luckett, LSU AgLeadership Class XV member

As we pulled up to Flor de Donana Biorganics plantation, my excitement couldn’t be contained. The feel from the “back of the bus” was less than eager to visit another vegetable production, storage, packing, and shipping facility, as it’s been the fourth so far. However, with each visit I notice something new and become a little more aware of the time, money, work, anxiety, and love that is grows with each fruit and vegetable. 

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A Trip of the Unexpected!

A Trip of the Unexpected!

By Richard K. Cooper, Ph.D., LSU AgLeadership Class XV member

This is how I would characterize our visit to Spain, and to this point in the trip, the unexpected has been muy bien! Since our arrival in Madrid, I have been thinking of a word the would describe this beautiful country and its people, but rather than rush the search for a word, decided to let it come to me. During our visit to Yeguada de la Cartuja stud farm to view the stunning Andalusia horses, the word that finally crystallized, for me, so much of what we have observed is pride. The Spaniards seem to take pride in all aspects of their lives from the intricate carvings with gold overlay or stone work in their cathedrals, to the cleanliness of their cities and immaculate manicuring of their parks and gardens, to their dress as they walk down the streets, and the wine that they drink. Nowhere is this pride more evident than in the stud farm that is responsible for the careful breeding and maintenance of the genetic lines of the Andalusian horses.

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Uh-Oh!

Uh-Oh!

By Avery Davidson, LSU AgLeadership Class XV member

When you’re thousands of miles away from home, those are two words you never want to hear. However, within five minutes of arriving at our first hotel in Madrid, those two words exited my mouth. 

When you travel to another country, like Spain, you know that you’re going to need an adapter for all of your electronic devices. I shoot video, still pictures, have a computer, smartphone, iPad and an electric razor. I REALLY need to charge a lot of batteries… every night… every day… every stop. 

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America; Just a Young Buck!

America; Just a Young Buck!

By Karl McDonald, LSU AgLeadership Class XV member

1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue…  We know that one by heart. In America, we have a very colorful history and for the most part it is pretty easy to remember. That could be because it really only spans about 500 years, well, 400 if you really look at the details (Jamestown settled in the early 1600s). No matter where you are in the US, you have a healthy lesson on our patriotic history, young as it may be. Small as it may be, it is emphasized in all we do and are. World history on the other hand… well, we all took a lesson or two on it and your teacher may have dictated more of your interest or involvement. American pride still prevails and we can connect that history to what we know with little effort.

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Three Cultures, One City: Born in Antiquity, Cordoba Still Shapes the Modern World

Three Cultures, One City: Born in Antiquity, Cordoba Still Shapes the Modern World

By Neil Melançon, Louisiana Farm Bureau Information & Public Relations Assistant Director

In the 1950s when the city of Cordoba decided to expand its city hall, excavators stumbled across what is likely the most important Roman temple in the city’s history.  It dates back to a time when the the city was an important Roman capital in the richest province in Pax Romana.

It’s fitting, then, that as the city sought to expand it’s seat of power, it discovered one in antiquity.  The city seems to find its way to the top century after century.  With throngs of tourists in the streets, it could be climbing there once again.

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Olives and Cordoba

Olives and Cordoba

By Bobby Soileau, Ph.D., LSU AgLeadership Class XV Coordinator

We left our view of the Mediterranean Sea this morning and headed north for Cordoba. On the way we stopped at OleoAlgaidas, an olive co-operative and mill. It is an 800 member co-op that has suffered from a lack of rain. They will harvest 25,000 metric tons of olives which is more than 55,000 pounds.

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Why is the Cheese Green?

Why is the Cheese Green?

By Bobby Soileau, Ph.D., LSU AgLeadership Class XV Coordinator

It was a typical adventurous morning for our trip. A number of us were waiting on the hotel restaurant to open up for breakfast. Hotel Alfonso VI, in the beautiful city of Toledo, had an unusual breakfast, practically everything was cold. In fact, the scrambled eggs were cold. 

But it was the green sliced cheese that caught my attention.

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Let’s Get Down to Business

Let’s Get Down to Business

By Avery Davidson, LSU AgLeadership Class XV member

The building is gray, modest and obscured by trees. The marble dove sculpture sitting upon a pedestal at the entranceway has a broken olive branch in its mouth. This building lacks the grandeur and splendor of many in Madrid, but the people inside represent and work Spain’s number 1 export: Olives.

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From Monroe to Madrid: LSU Ag Leadership Class XV Tours Spain and Portugal

From Monroe to Madrid: LSU Ag Leadership Class XV Tours Spain and Portugal

By Neil Melançon, Louisiana Farm Bureau Information & Public Relations Assistant Director

Neil here. I'm blogging on Tuesday morning at breakfast, where it's still dark at almost 8 am. The Spanish don't observe Daylight Saving Time and it's as far north as New York, so it's darker longer, throwing off my already wacky sense of time.

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