Brazilian farmers study 2012 drought in Clinton County

A Clinton County farmer turned his drought-damaged fields into an international learning lab on Tuesday. That’s as three bus loads of South American farmers stopped to study the parched corn.

150 Brazilian farmers stepped into Dennis Campbell’s fields. They checked out Iowa corn. Drought damage that’s taking a toll on 2012 crops.

“This corn, it looks really bad,” said visiting farmer Rafael Kummel.

International visitors looked at this sixth generation Grand Mound farm. August rain came too late for corn. The Campbells expect to harvest just half of what’s normally expected. Some fields are worse than others.

“There’s zero kernels,” Dennis Campbell explained. “You can go 200 yards through the field with a combine, and it doesn’t pick up a single kernel.”

This outdoor agriculture lab allowed visiting Brazilians to get a close look at the drought damage. They’re also visiting the Monsanto test farm in Monmouth and the Farm Progress Show this week.

“They wanted to see the impact of the drought in Iowa,” Campbell said. “They wanted to see drought-stricken corn.”

This hands-on lesson is more than just a farm tour. It’s a chance to learn about extreme conditions that brought on the drought.

“We expected to see damaged crops, but not at this level,” said visiting farmer Junior Smaniotto.

There’s a common bond in this international exchange. Brazilian corn growers also know what it’s like to deal with drought.

“We grow corn as a second crop,” said Canisio Froelich. “In dry years, we’ve found the same situation as well.”

It’s a complicated situation that challenges farmers across the globe. Americans and Brazilians hope to learn from this and keep growing.

“It’s sad because everybody needs food,” said Kummel.

Shared sentiment among the corn that’s food for thought.

“We’ve got a lot of needs in the world,” Campbell concluded. “It’s not good when drought happens.”

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