I am enrolled in Agricultura Especial II this semester, in which we study management practices and physiological development of important crops. Since we are in the fall semester here in Brazil and approaching the winter growing season, crops of focus include potatoes, oats, ryegrass,.... and RICE!! Three cheers for rice, which helps to sustain nearly four billion people, and to which we are virtually strangers in the state of Kansas. Never having seen rice in production, and understanding the weight of this plant's importance on food security, I've been completely stoked to get started.
Last week for the practical, we loaded up in a school bus and took a field trip to the nearby processing facility. We saw the storage units, the scales, and the dessicator (powered by a large wood burning oven).
This facility sells rice as a food product to distributors, but also sells seed for farmers. Lots of seed..... like enough to climb up.
Later in the week, Leonardo offered to show us his research plots. Rice production is responsible for relatively high emission rates of methane, and his team is studying how various production practices can influence gas production. That's me- Sample Girl.
*Sidenote: I love the science. But I also just appreciate the chance to dig my fingers into some soil and walk around with no shoes on.
And it dawns on me, I'm working in a rice paddy.