The Way of Farming Life in Mexico
Brandon Kruswick is a dairy science major at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is from Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. Below Brandon reflects on some of the differences and similarities in farming in the U.S. and in Mexico.
Being from rural Wisconsin, having a farming background, and growing up on a medium-sized farm, I figured that visiting smaller farms in the mountains wouldn't be much of a shock. When we first arrived into the mountainous regions, I was amazed that any type of farming could happen in such conditions. The concept is very similar to that of the practices in the U.S., but at the same time, it is also extremely different. It was evident that the farmer's house, farm and livestock were housed on the side of the mountain...and the fields that he worked and grew crops on were further down at the bottom of the valley. Seeing this meant a lot to me, making me realize that I had no reason to complain about simple household chores, when this man would wake up every day, walk this distance from his farm to his fields, and not complain once about the matter.
[I saw] a mule eating its afternoon meal, simply corn stalks. It really is amazing to me that an animal can survive on corn stalks alone. In the U.S., we place so much emphasis on nutrition in our livestock, but in the mountainous regions of Mexico, where strength and nutrition are of the utmost importance, they get by on such simple components. To me this is very meaningful, showing that there may be many unnecessary steps taken in raising animals like mules and horses, granted we use our animals in much more strenuous activities, but I see now that this might be an opportunity for farmers to cut back on their spending.
...In the U.S. we place our money into bank savings accounts, whereas in Mexico, they feed and care for their sheep or bulls for the year and then sell them at the end of the year to reap the profits. This strikes a chord with me because in the past few summer I have raised hogs to show and sell at the county fair. IN a way, I was participating in very similar practices as what I saw in Mexico. Throughout the whole summer I would buy feed for the pigs, invest my time and money into them, and hopefully make a decent profit at the sale in the fall.
...In many ways the lives of farmers in the U.S. and Mexico are very different, while at the same time, there are also many similarities. By being able to decipher these traits, I am able to better understand the culture of the Mexican people.