Blowing In The Wind

Inside Dakota Ag

High tech, low-tech – anything tech -- intrigues U.S. farmers on a tour of Brazil.

Published on: February 5, 2011

The farmers on this Illinois Soybean Association tour of Brazil are definitely high tech.

They use some of biggest, most sophisticated farming equipment in the word. They are at ease with Global Positioning Systems, variable rating seed equipment and auto steer technology. They are forever using their Smart Phones, I-Phones and IPods to connect to their word back home as they travel from soybean farm to soybean farm in Brazil.

So when we pulled up to the Immigrant Memorial in Castro, Parana, Brazil, to spend some time at the full-size working Dutch windmill, I thought they’d shrug and roll their eyes. What could be more old hat than a replica of windmill that’s a couple hundred years old?

But some of these farmers poured over the structure. Like kids, they played with the rope and pulley system. They lifted sacks of wheat up to the third floor and and marveled at the combination of pulleys that made moving 50 pounds of wheat effortless. As the windmill blades swept by, they studied gears that turned the stone that ground the wheat. They wondered if they could get the second grinder going.

“We’re farmers,” said one man as he admired the windmill. “We just like knowing how things work.”