Southerners get a dose of Down Under hospitality in Armidale

AMERICA’S deep south came to Armidale earlier this week when four visitors from Louisiana passed through the area as part of an agriculture and aquaculture exchange program.

Team leader Mark Shirley, Keith Normand, Mindy Hotard and Nick Simoneaux were on a Rotary  exchange tour hosted by the local Rotary district and were special guests at a civic reception hosted by Armidale Dumaresq Council.

They were hosted by local Rotary members and toured the tomato farm in Guyra, UNE’s rural property Kirby, the Dutton Trout Hatchery at Ebor and a Walcha merino property. The visiting Americans have extensive experience in agriculture and aquaculture production, with the exchange program helping to facilitate professional development between experts in their chosen fields.

Ms Hotard, visiting Australia for the first time, found many similarities to her own home state.

“It really feels like home,” she said.

“Everyone has been so fabulous and warmly welcomed us into their homes. What I have seen so far of the landscape in Australia has reminded me of the flat country back home. We share a similar relaxed culture that revolves around good food and great company, so I have felt right at home.”

The group will spend the rest of the  week touring the region looking at broadacre farming in Tamworth, before heading to the coast to look at oyster farming in Forster, hobby farming in Kempsey, marine research in Coffs Harbour and sustainable forestry in Wauchope.

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