Traditions are an important part of agriculture in Spain, but those ties to the past carry both positives and negatives, Iowa Farm Bureau members learned on a visit to the second-largest country in Western Europe.

Centuries-old customs provide a touch of nostalgia and value-added marketing opportunities for farms that raise fighting bulls, world-famous Iberian ham and Spanish wines. But at the same time, an unwillingness to embrace 21st century science and technology prevents row-crop farmers from planting the best corn and soybean genetics available.

"It was quite interesting to see the different ways they operate," said Leo Stephas, a Clay County Farm Bureau member. "It’s always enjoyable to see how other people live and their customs. It inspires you when you meet these other farmers in a different country. They have the same problems we do, and they have the same objectives we do. They’re all concerned about their land and their products."

More than 170 Farm Bureau members spent a week in Spain Feb. 24-March 2 as...