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Agricultural News

Bonaza! OALP Class Members Meet Real Life Cartwrights on Their Ponderosa in Central Chile

Fri, 21 Feb 2020 03:06:28 CST

Bonaza! OALP Class Members Meet Real Life Cartwrights on Their Ponderosa in Central Chile Cue the music from the Classic Television Show Bonanza that so many of us grew up with- Ben, Adam, Hoss and Little Joe Cartwright were all parts of our family- well Class 19 of the Oklahoma Ag Leadership Program met a real life Cartwright during their travels in Chile as a part of their international Capstone experience. They met Martin Cartwright who owns the Ponderosa Farm in Central Chile. Martin has recently turned over the day to day operation of their fruit and nut farm to his son Sebastian- and while Martin and his family did not have to battle the bad guys of the old west in our American past- he has battled the equivalent in Chile's agriculture- telling the class how he and others really established Chile as a world class fruit exporter that rose from the political turmoil of the 1970s in this South American nation.

Watch Cartwright tell his story to the OALP Class by clicking on the Play Button in the VIDEO BOX

After managing farms early in his career in the late 1970s and early 1980s- he was able to start buying small plots of land and early on- Cartwright planted fruit trees- Cherry, Apple and Pears- but the real success story has been the Cherry Tree. Going for maximum production at the most efficient production costs- he borrowed an idea he heard about from the US Pacific Northwest to plant trees close together and actually have rows of the trees in a "v" trellis system with the trees leaning away from each other in the rows. "We farm light" was what Cartwright told the Class- and that configuration allows his trees to get maximum sunshine down across the green forage- capturing more of the sun's energy and resulting in almost three times the national average production of cherry tree per hectare seen in Chile- about 19 tons per hectare in a good year. "There's only a certain amount of sunshine that lands upon one hectare of land- and that's what we have to capture and then turn into a beautiful looking fruit and that is what we have to do." He adds capturing the light efficiently is the way you maximize production.

That bountiful production found a willing international buyer- China. The Cherry harvest in Chile allowed them to ship their production and land in China in time for the Lunar New Year- the Chinese fell in love with the red color, pretty packaging in small quanities was a beautiful present for the Chinese- Cartwright adding "it was the quality of the fruit was a key to getting the Chinese to buy in huge amounts." Sebastian added in comments to Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays that initially the Chinese were willing to pay a dollar or two per kilo and then four, then five and then up to seven dollars and as a result, Chile has responded by rapidly increasing the number of trees to produce cherries for the Chinese market. He admits the Coronavrius is a major blow to their 2020 sales with ships of cherries in port waiting to be unloaded for their lucrative market.

You can hear Martin and Sebastian Cartwright's comments with Hays by clicking on the LISTEN BAR below.

As we walked toward the bus saying our goodbyes- we asked Martin about the Cartwright name and his decision to name his farm the Ponderosa- and he grinned- and we said together Bonanza!!!

You can see our pictures of the visit to the Ponderosa and more from our Chile travels in the OALP to Chile Album on Flickr- available here.

The intertnational travel to Chile is the Capstone experience for the Class Nineteen Members of the Oklahoma Ag Leadership Program, a two year program that was established in 1982- based on a public-private partnership of Oklahoma State Univerxity and groups and indivisuals invovlved in agriclture. Over 500 graduates of the program have made a difference in rural life and production agriclture locally and nationally,

To learn more about the program- and to find our how you or someone you know can apply to be a part of Class XX- click or tap here.


Ron Hays talks with Martin and Sebastian Cartwright as he travels with OALP in Chile
right-click to download mp3


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