From Wednesday, July 19 to Friday, July 21, my boss allowed me to participate in a trip with the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), which is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. I traveled with FAS local Thai member Khun Sokchai and a FAS driver. The USDA intern was also supposed to join us, but he fell ill the morning of so it was just the three of us. It was quite an adventure traveling with these two wonderful men – we laughed throughout our trip, even when we got lost in the rain and darkness.
Below is a Facebook post I wrote for the Embassy Facebook page that sums up my experience and what I learned:
“On the 19th to 20th of July, the U.S. Embassy’s USDA Foreign Agricultural Service visited pork, beef, and dairy farms in Nakhon Pathom, Suphan Buri, and Nakhon Ratchasima provinces. On these farms, the U.S. Embassy witnessed the important role U.S. agricultural technologies play in Thailand’s pursuit for food safety and security. For example, livestock farmers discussed how imported U.S. cattle genetics allowed Thai farmers to boost their productivity and increase their revenues. Given the growing trend of people wanting to know where their food comes from, many of the farmers noted that they do their best to make food information as transparent as possible through labeling, marketing, and mobile app technology that tracks products through the supply chain. As the market is quite competitive, Thai farmers repeatedly talked about all the things they do to increase yields from using quality livestock feed such as soybeans imported from the United States or ensuring a hygienic environment for the animals they raise.”