Count the miles…the number of speakers…the bonds of friendship forged during days spent together. Its all but impossible to pick out the most memorable meeting for any TALL member. It might be the remark of a speaker that stays with one over the years. Or the introduction to something completely new and different. These are the treasured experiences of TALL, never to be forgotten. Add to this the personal episodes and jokes that one would just as soon forget!
Most members of TALL will agree that the out-of-state trips were tops. In California, Class II was introduced to a very sophisticated and progressive agribusiness world. Meeting with alumni from their program, now in their 26th class, and sharing ideas on the future with producers and industry leaders was a rare experience. In addition to value-added products from over 200 commodities, and problems with urban intrusion, there was the political impact so evident in this huge state. The visit to the L.A. produce market during the early morning hours, interacting with a broker dealing in global markets, was unforgettable.
Crossing over into Mexico means leaving one world behind and entering another. A visit to a plant, fashioning plumbing products out of molten metal for an Indiana company, leaves a lasting impression. The vast difference between living standards was clearly evident. But in certain enterprises, as with dairy and vegetable production, improvements are obvious. Wealth and technology in the U.S. can be contrasted with cheap labor (including children), lack of concern for safety and poor infrastructure.
Although the international experience for each class takes them in a different direction, the deep impression on plastic young minds is much the same. They are literally transported to a different world, exposed to leaders at local and national levels that would be otherwise impossible. The evaluations by participants in each class tell the story with remarkable consistency. Even members with considerable background and travel experience seem to gain much from a glimpse of another part of the world.