This week's meeting featured a presentation by independent agronomist, John McGillicuddy, on the Ukraine.


President, Mark Patton, opened the meeting.


Herb Wilson, Pat Barron, Gregorio Sanchez

District Conference in Review:

Mike Messier, as Chair of the District Conference, remarked that more than 375 Rotarians were registered and there were both good attendance and good programs. Mark recognized: Roger Christian, Jack Cameron, Dick Huber, and Karin Franklin. He was thankful that our club pulled it off on our own even though it was our first time to host. The District Conference was a wonderful goodbye for John Ockenfels as District Governor.

Rotarians in the News:

The Corridor Business Journal reported that Karin Franklin is the new chair of board of the University of Iowa Community Credit Union. 

World in a Minute:

Amanda McFadden told us about the Island of Réunion, a French island, an overseas department of France in the Indian Ocean. Réunion has a volcano that is monitored for eruptions. The island has huge amounts of rainfall. There were no indigenous people. The island has 30% unemployment and 42% of the people live below the poverty level. There are 15 Rotary clubs dotted along the coast of Réunion.

Rotary Awards:

Mike Messier was given the Paul Harris Award with three stones for his support of the Rotary Foundation and for being the Chair for the District Conference. Deb Ockenfels will receive the same award when she is able to be in attendance. Ron Logsden was awarded for recruiting 2 new members to club, which helped our club to qualify for the Presidential Award. Kris Ockenfels was awarded the Paul Harris Fellowship Award and will receive her pin shortly.


Deb Galbraith invited the club members to attend Sunday’s party for Sofie and Eleonora who are exchange students. Pat Schnack had a reminder to keep up with Wheels on Meals. Nenu will deliver meals today. Myrene needs a volunteer program coordinator for August. Pat would like a newbie to help her with July. Liz Nichols will present new member kits for Amanda and Ryan Dye. District 6000 is accepting checks for the country of Nepal, made out to the Foundation. Next week begins the month of May: scribe Pam Ehly, dishes (to be announced).

Board members reported the Can Shed ownership change and Troy has agreed to take the huge boxes of cans to the Can Shed so the cans can be sorted. A team is now negotiating with Goodwill to hire this can sorting to be done. In the meantime the club needs Rotarian volunteers for the next 3 Saturdays to sort cans. Time: 9 AM. Deb, Sue, Pam, Karin volunteered for this coming weekend. Gloves and drinking water will be provided. The location of the Can Shed is in Iowa City, off Highway 6, and behind the VFW Hall, to right of Orscheln’s.

Happy Bucks:

Myrene Hoover, Mike Messier, Ron Logsden, Roger Christian, Peggy Doerge, Margy Winkler, Chris Knapp, Pat Schnack, Deb Galbraith, Gary Hammond, Dean Carrington, Jack Cameron, Carl Christiansen, Jim Peterson, Tom Novak, Amanda McFadden, and Nenu Piragine.


John McGillicuddy (guest of Jack Tank), an independent agronomist, shared information on Ukraine. His company’s website is: This country needs help in becoming what it can become; there is much untapped potential there. The World Bank is lending money there and saw the need of agronomist advice.  Under communism, agriculture business was not effective.

In the city of Kiev stands a statue of the founders of Kiev - Vikings! Ukraine has much Viking and Celtic influence. The country has 44.5 million people, 103 million agricultural acres. With respect to crops, it has in-field crops of over 80 million acres.  The country has long history of being abused by “everybody”. The recent election to go with Russia was monitored by Russian soldiers.

Chernobyl is in Ukraine.

The soil in Ukraine is richer than Iowa/Illinois soil! Agriculture is not caring for well for the soil, having problems with compaction and crusting because farmers are plowing and “beating it up.” Ukraine has  not had continuing education in ag research. By contrast, in the US folks in agriculture question everything.

It is likely that Ukraine is producing 40% less than they could do. Part of the problem is the very bad roads in Ukraine. The government is transitioning from central control to privatization. Ukraine is new to raising soybeans. The climate is similar to that of Iowa, but the actual latitude is equal with Canada. Currently, Putin is pushing people back, it is hoped they can move past that. While under communist rule 30,000,000 Ukrainians were “disappeared” by Russians (starved, murdered, shipped) so that there has been a “hidden Holocaust” – yet the people are still very open and friendly.

Peasants owned own land, and were masters of soil and food production, but were starved by the Russians. “Harvest of Despair” is a book about this situation under Stalin who wanted collective farms. The USSR tried to control Ukraine agriculture from Moscow, but had no clue about what Ukraine could raise well and mismanaged the farm economy.  The average Ukrainian has huge dislike/disrespect for Russia.

Ukraine is an inexpensive place for Americans to visit because of the recent rapid currency devaluation. The country is learning that medium size farms work better than huge farms.

The revolution of 2014 was a huge event. The recently overthrown president was a Putin puppet and he was paving the way for Putin to take over the country. The Ukrainian army stayed out of the revolution. The revolutionaries burned walls of tires. Cobblestones and Molotov cocktails were their ammo. Today, flowers mark where rebels and patriots fell. The presidential election was held in May, 2014.