Ag Science Professor Visits Belarus as Part of Farmer-to-Farmer Program

July 5, 2011

Dr. John Tryon, professor of agricultural science at SUNY Cobleskill, recently returned from a two-week trip to Belarus as part of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Farmer-to-Farmer program. Tryon brought his extensive knowledge of the U.S. dairy industry and dairy cattle management to Belarusian students as well as other educators, industry officials, local farmers and conference attendees.

The Farmer-to-Farmer program in Belarus is implemented by CNFA, an international organization dedicated to promoting agricultural growth in the developing world. The program provides voluntary technical assistance to farmers, farm groups and agribusiness in developing and transitional countries to promote sustainable improvements in food processing, production and marketing.

Although Tryon had traveled to Belarus through CNFA’s program twice before – in addition to another trip to Ukraine – this visit gave him an opportunity to directly engage with Belarusian students similar to his own at SUNY Cobleskill.

“The first day I gave lectures, the students were a little apprehensive, understandably,” Tryon said. “Then the second day, they really started opening up. I showed them videos of my students and they were interested to see them and understand them. They’re all in the same shoes.”

As his primary objective, Tryon met with Belarusian State Agricultural Academy (BSAA) students to give various presentations on U.S. dairy cattle management with special attention to the best practices in feeding, production, breeding, and more. BSAA, a national leader in agricultural education, first partnered with CNFA in 2010 after seeing the success of the Farmer-to-Farmer program.

“I just enjoy, as an educator, helping other people and helping spread the word about agriculture in (the United States),” added Tryon. “If I can help share some of that with other people, I’m happy to do that. I find people pretty interested and wanting to learn and move forward, and that’s a good thing.”

Throughout the trip, Tryon was able to reach out to more than 100 students through various presentations and talks. He connected with many others linked to the Belarusian dairy industry, from farmers to dairy industry officials, presented at the 2011 Belarus Dairy Forum: Trends, Promotion and Export, on May 6, and led a lively roundtable discussion on challenges and opportunities in the Belarusian dairy industry.

For more information about CNFA, visit or contact Lauren McKown at 202-296-3920, ext. 39.