A TRIP TO THE NEAR EAST

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3520 W. 12th Street, Indianapolis 22, Indiana

By an Eastern Indiana Farmer

Mr. and Mrs. C. Elmer Ziegler of Greensburg were recently in a group of farm people who took a four-week tour of Spain, Portugal, Greece and the Near East, including the Holy Land.

Thirty-two farm people in all made the trip, sponsored by the Indiana Farm Bureau. The trip was made in September 1962, and when they arrived in Spain wheat was being harvested threshing was done by driving over it, and they saw farm women walking walking over it, tramping out the grain. Majority of farmers, however, had threshing floors, and spread the straw out and used donkeys to tramp out the grain from the chaff. The temperature at that time was 117 degrees.

In this heat the group drove from Seville to Cordoba. They commented that the farmers need not worry about rain a very dry climate. As the corn is gathered it is spread on the ground to dry.

Fascinating to these Indiana farmers, Mrs. Ziegler said, were the primitive methods. They saw a man plowing with two mules in front of a pair of oxen. All four animals pulled to plow. As they drove through small towns, they saw goats muzzled right on the sidewalks.

Portugal was another story here it is wine, olive oil, and fish in that order of importance. They also saw large piles of cork, and were told it takes 12 years for the bark to grow back on the trees.

In Lisbon the event they remember is one poor soul searching for his passport a serious thing to lose one. But the man finally found it underneath all his belongings.

Cairo, Egypt was interesting here they were served butter made from milk of water buffalo and goats. It was not salted either. Natives were seen everywhere washing dishes, clothes, and taking baths in the muddy Nile. And the buffalo were dozing in it too. The Nile flows north, and the mud in the water is washed up from the south lands after the rains.

Largest acreage in any one farm in Egypt is 100 acres, and they raise four rounds of crops per year. They saw a carload of camels being shipped either to farmers in dryer lands, or to the nomads.

Dining with the nomads in the midst of the desert was exciting, and unusual. To get to the pyramids, they rode by camelback, and saw all 22 pyramids, covering 12 acres. Built 450 feet high they have stood there since 3,000 B. C.

The Holy Land depends on tourist trade for 70% if its income, the Zieglers noted. Tourists always see the Sphinx, Jerico, Jerusalem, and Bethlehem, and the experimental farms at the American University of Lebanon. In many areas, the agriculture methods are the same as in the life time of Christ though that is hard to believe to some who have never seen the Holy Land. In some spots though, they saw irrigation being practiced, and the water was either pumped by human power or donkeys were used.

Israel, though, was the exception-it is a modern and up-to-date farming country.

All along the way, U.S. officials were conferred with, and all agriculture educators and researchers were contacted by the group of farmers.