FORREST – A simple connection on social media resulted in international tourists visiting the Blunier hog farm near Forrest this week.
The stop was part of a Transatlantic Dialogue Tour through the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest, Inc. Through his “Farm Hats” Facebook page, Kent Blunier was able to attend the Ag Chat conference in Kansas City over a year ago where he met Marcus Holtkotter, one of the tour organizers. Holtkotter follows the “Farm Hats” page.
“We get kind of locked in to how we farm here and so I’m looking forward as much as they are to seeing something completely different and hearing how they do things in Germany,” said Blunier.
Holtkotter’s farm in Germany has around 300 sows and they raise winter wheat, barley, corn and canola.
“I see – at the moment – the challenges are the same in the U.S. and Germany,” Holtkotter said. “We hope to get new ideas from the farmers.”
Tour participant Werner Schwarz also believes problems farmers face in the two countries are not that different, so networking definitely helps.
“It’s not 9 to 5 but it’s the best job in the world, I think, because you are close to nature and the animals. You see what you have done in the evening and I think there are not that many jobs in the world that can do that,” Schwarz stated.
Schwarz was fascinated with the seemingly “endless countryside” in Illinois where no end is in sight.
“At least we want to produce something to eat, something to drink and have a good life,” he concluded.
The group also visited the Illinois Farm Bureau headquarters in Bloomington and enjoyed dinner at the Cowcatcher restaurant in Forrest.