Never let it be said that we don’t get back to nature on a Greenmount Study tour. In Canada and the US this year, we promised the 20 or so study tourists they would see bears or their money back (no, not really).
There were plenty of unconfirmed sightings (“…it must have gone behind a tree”) and lots of mistaken species (squirrels, otters, even whales) but when we got into grizzly country in remote British Columbia, everyone saw grizzlies and lots of them.
After we left the mountains, the wildlife thinned out somewhat, although there were plenty of wild young things at the Calgary Stampede.
From a farming viewpoint, the underlying theme of the tour was logistics – or more specifically, the differences in how Australia, Canada and the US get their primary products to market.
In Australia, it is a fragmented system of road and rail to various seaports around the coastline. Canada is an ‘east-west’ country with transport almost entirely based on an efficient rail systems. The US has a wonderful natural transport artery and it is called the Mississippi River, along with tributaries Missouri, Illinois, Ohio etc.
One of the highlights of this tour was to visit the ADM loading and receival facilities on the river at St Louis.
There were plenty of other highlights of course, with some great farmers doing interesting things. Technology highlights included Monsanto and some good music in Memphis and Nashville.