A fruitful visit from North America

March 15, 2017

On tour: IK Caldwells’s Russell Fox, Brian Kerry, Tom O’Neill, Torrie Warner, Fred Johnson and Goulburn Murray Water’s Chris Ryan.

Four North American fruit growers stopped in at Cobram last week during their tour of northern Victoria.

As part of a vocational training team visit run by Rotary International, the foursome was in the region learning about how their Australian counterparts go about their work.

While learning about the region’s irrigation systems at Goulburn-Murray Water in Cobram, team leader Tom O’Neill, who hails from Ontario in Canada, said it had been a trip well worth the effort.

‘‘There is only really one word to describe the trip so far — fantastic,’’ Mr O’Neill said.

‘‘We landed in Melbourne around two weeks ago and after looking around the agriculture centre at La Trobe University we have slowly started making our way up to Cobram.

‘‘All four of us have been fascinated to learn how the water usage works over here and to hear how people across the other side of the world have similar growing problems to us.’’

Mr O’Neill said the problems of northern Victoria were not the same as they faced in North America but that lessons could be learned.

‘‘Obviously we don’t suffer from a thing like the Queensland fruit fly, but we do have similar things back home.

‘‘It is great to hear how everyone seems to be joining together in northern Victoria to fight the (Queensland) fruit fly though.’’

It was also the little things that caught the travelling group’s eye while touring around the region.

‘‘Driving down the road yesterday we saw a lemon tree and an apple tree growing side-by-side,’’ Mr O’Neill said.

‘‘That would never, ever happen back home.’’

Joining Mr O’Neill on the trip was Torrie Warner and Brian Kerry who both come from Ontario and Fred Johnson who is from New York state in the United States.

Mr O’Neill said their trip was about halfway through, with the group guest speakers at Goulburn Ovens Institute of TAFE in Shepparton on Friday, March 17 at 9am.

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