Donn Teske, a self-described “red-neck farmer from Kansas” who’d never left the country before, recently found himself in Senegal on fairly short notice.
President of the Kansas Farmers Union, and a star of the movie “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” Donn just returned from two weeks in Kaolack and Dakar. He participated in an international farmer exchange program, offering to help the Senegalese farmers become more efficient at growing and marketing millet.
He introduces his adventure as follows:
Yep, I’m writing this from Brussels, danged Donn who has never traveled beyond the American borders in all his travels all these years besides Winnipeg a couple of times. And shoot, Winnipeg hardly counts as out of the country.
It all started when I received an email sent out by National Farmers Union putting out a call for participants in a “Farmer to farmer” program hosted by the NCBA (no, not the cattle group, the National Cooperative Business Assn.) They were requesting expert assistance in working with Senegal producers in their efforts to raise and market Millet. I thought that I would be a pretty good candidate for this effort, (except for the part about growing Millet) but Millet is quite a bit like Milo and I’ve grown quite a bit of Milo over the years. This is the part where my neighbors are all saying “he’s the crappiest farmer in the county what is he going to do over there to help them out????”
Senegal ranks 156 out of 177 countries on the Human Development Index. Around 70% of the population are farmers and 63% of the population survives on less than $2 per day! WOW, talk about a need!