A group of more than 50 international students visited Lawrence on Tuesday and Wednesday to tour some of the area's notable agricultural and business operations.
The students are members of International Association of Students in Agricultural and Related Sciences and were recently at IAAS' World Congress at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. Lawrence farmer Scott Thellman, who graduated from ISU in May and was a member of IAAS, invited them to Douglas County. They came from about 15 different countries, including Russia, Israel, the Philippines, Switzerland and Chile.
The students visited Free State Brewery, Nunemaker-Ross Farms and Pines International. They had a farm dinner and chautauqua — a talent show of sorts — at Juniper Hills Farm. They learned about local sustainability initiatives and attended the Douglas County Fair.
"It's an opportunity for them to see an area of the world that is completely new to them," said Thellman, 24, who has spent the summer haying and growing organic produce. "For them, big row-crop operations are something they're not used to seeing. We're trying to expand worlds and expand their mindset. Then they take a lot of the ideas back to their home countries."