Iowa farmers’ lives are always governed by weather. That holds true even when the job at hand is trying to travel to learn about farms that are half-way around the world.

A group of Iowa farmers left June 22 on an education tour to the Black Sea region of central Europe. The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation sponsored tour is designed to help Iowans learn about this region, which is expected to be a big competitor for Iowa crop exports in the coming years,

As they gathered at the Des Moines airport, many said they were relieved to be taking a couple-week break from farming. The extremely rainy spring weather in Iowa, they said, had made farming very frustrating and stressful. Break might be just what the doctor ordered..

But it didn’t work out that way. The volatile Midwest weather still bit the group.

The first outbound leg of the trip, a short hop from Des Moines to Detroit, ran into trouble when a pop up thunderstorm hit the southeast Michigan. The plane had to make an unscheduled stop in Flint, Mich., which set off a series of cascading travel problems.

First the farmers missed their flight to Europe, forcing an unscheduled overnight stay in Detroit, and trip to Boston, also unscheduled. After a short layover in Paris (the scheduled stop was Amsterdam), the Iowa Farm Bureau crew was able to make it to Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. And, although not every member had luggage, they went to work, learning about local farming by talking with people from the Ukrainian Ag Ministry and the U.S. Embassy. Because as every farmer knows, no matter what the weather throws as you, you have to keep going to get the job done.

Stay tuned as I continue to share updates from our travels abroad.