Spain & Portugal, Here we Come!

By Avery Davidson, LSU AgLeadership Class XV member

And we're off! This is the moment for which many of us in LSU Ag Leadership Class XV have been waiting. We're on the international trip which culminates two years of lectures, tours, trips to the east and west coasts and several speeches. 

The parade of large suitcases, handles raised and rollers spinning, on our way to the United Airlines desk signaled that there was no turning back. After this trip, we will be ready to graduate from this program and join the ranks of other great agricultural leaders. 

There's no doubt this is going to be a great trip. LSU Ag Leadership Coordinator Dr. Bobby Soileau knows well how to plan a route that will provide knowledge, culture and always, ALWAYS run on time. It's also going to be a great trip because of the class. We met two years ago, many of us as strangers to one another and the work we each do. Today, I can tell you all about Jason Burke and his love of wildlife management. I can kid around with Jenny Buller and gawk at her latest kill with her bow. I can listen to Ben Sanders laugh and imagine him in my head somewhere in the shire with Sam guarding a ring. (I'm sorry, Ben. You look just like Elijah Wood!)

On the itinerary are some amazing stops. We're going to see crawfish production in Spain. We're going to see a 6,000 head cattle ranch. We're going to see the main olive cooperative in Spain. We're going to see cork production in Portugal. All the while, we're going to bond as friends and appreciate the great cultures of these two Western European nations.

I've only been to Europe once before, and I don't really count it. I spent a few days in Istanbul, Turkey. That's not like Western Europe. I don't count the 8-hour layover in Amsterdam, either. So, to say I'm looking forward to touching down in Madrid is an understatement. My wife Lauren is with me, so I'm looking forward to sharing experiences with her. My Farm Bureau Family, Neil Melancon and Jim Monroe, are with me. So, bring on the llearning. We're ready and we're off.