Honduras Internship by Kendra Gregory
Situated in southern Honduras is Las Palmas Refugio. The 1,250 acre ranch was purchased three years ago by Jarrod Brown, co-founder of Mission Lazarus, with the vision of creating a working ranch and a site for a children’s home. A&E has partnered with Mission Lazarus to increase the productivity of the ranch. I was fortunate enough to intern in Honduras this summer and work on agricultural projects designed to increase milk production at the ranch.
Mission Lazarus has a dairy herd of 40 cows that are milked twice a day. The cows graze primarily on native grasses. They receive supplemental nutrition from a concentrate mixture at each milking. Instead of purchasing commercial concentrate, Mission Lazarus hopes to eventually produce their own concentrate on the ranch. Two of my projects this summer involved work with the dairy herd.
All records kept on milk production, concentrate consumed, vaccines and other veterinary information is generally done by hand. I compiled all the daily milk yields for every cow into a spreadsheet that can be used instead of the larger paper copies. This information, coupled with the veterinary records, should allow Dr. Mhlanga, professor of Animal Science, and I to analyze the records during the fall semester. It is hoped that the analysis of these records leads to improved management decisions and record keeping for Mission Lazarus’ dairy herd. Mission Lazarus is also hoping to acquire milk production software for use in the dairy.
Investigating ways to improve dairy herd nutrition, I helped monitor a tropical forage legume study involving cowpea, pigeonpea, lablab, cowitch and garbanzo bean. The different legumes will be analyzed for nutritional data at maturity. It is hoped that the data garnered will aid in increasing herd nutrition.
Throughout the course of my stay in Honduras, I was able to interact with many rural subsistence farmers discussing agricultural practices. I conducted a survey of agricultural practices and needs assessment with several Honduran families. The results of the survey have given me increased insight into Honduran agriculture and the perceived needs of the communities. Hopefully, the results of this survey will aid Mission Lazarus to better meet the agricultural needs of the surrounding area.
While my internship primarily focused on agriculture, I was also able to improve my Spanish speaking abilities. I served in a variety of ways in all aspects of Mission Lazarus. I worked as an interpreter for medical brigades, worked in the school and the office, and worked on the ranch. During the summer, God taught me a lot about His character and His plans for my life. I am becoming all the more convinced that God is calling me to full-time agricultural ministry in Central America. I am so pleased that God gave me this opportunity to glorify Him in a way that was so specifically suited to my unique talents.
By Kendra Gregory
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