LONDON — Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director Bruce Kettler joined an agricultural delegation to the United Kingdom Sept. 27-Oct. 4.
Alongside other leaders from across the United States, Kettler met with government agencies and stakeholders. They toured several farms to learn more about the region’s agriculture industry.
“It’s really a mission to help people in the U.S. ag industry to understand the U.K.’s agriculture system,” Kettler said. “What they’re doing, how it works. It’s a very educational trip in nature.
“The last two days, we’ve been out on farms. We’ve learned about sheep production and learned how lamb is marketed. We spent the day at Black Cow, which is a company that started with dairymen. They now make vodka from dairy milk.”
The group also visited an experimental dairy farm where farmers are using technology to reduce inputs.
“It’s been a real cross section of the industry,” Kettler said. “It’s been really neat to get out on the farms, talk to farmers and talk to people on the frontlines about what they do and why.”
The differences between agriculture in the U.K. versus the U.S. are significant, he said.
One example is animal nutrition. Most of the cattle in the U.K. are pasture raised and grass fed, compared to the U.S., where many cattle are grain fed.
In spite of the differences, the two countries have similarities.
“An area in particular that I think we have a lot of commonalities is around ag tech and ag science,” Kettler said.
America and the U.K. may be able to work together on research in the future.
Kettler also sees opportunities to engage with them when it comes to agricultural education.
“I think there might be ways for us to look at how the 4-H model could be utilized in the U.K. and how the FFA model might be utilized and upgraded here,” he said.