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A visit of National Geographic’s photojournalist to Agro-Soyuz

James Richardson In October, James Richardson — the renowned photojournalist of National Geographic — was in Ukraine and visited Model agricultural enterprise of Agro-Soyuz Holding.

James has been working as a photographer in a legendary National Geographic Journal for 29 years. The topics of his interest include environment, agriculture and water pollution problems. Besides, James is also busy doing a lot of pictures for National Geographic’s traveler’s section. But currently he is mostly writing and taking photos about agriculture and food. This time the editorial office gave an assignment to make a series of articles about how we will feed the Earth’s population in 2050, when it reaches 9 billion people. ‘According to our data food production will need to be doubled by that time. I would like our readers to meet people that are producing food for us. That’s why I am travelling now to different countries and take photos of farmers and agricultural workers, in other words, those that are directly involved in the process of agricultural production. We think that people underestimate the job that farmers and their employees do. Many readers may have no idea how food comes to their tables’, - James says.

A visit of National Geographic’s photojournalist to Agro-SoyuzOn October 9th, 2013 James Richardson arrived in Lvov and from there it took him 4 days to travel across Ukraine to Dnepropetrovsk region within 4 days. During this travel he got acquainted with farmers, took photos of their work and the results of their operation. ‘I like your country very-very much. Perhaps, because I was born and grew up in Kansas, which is very similar to Ukraine, — James smiles. — Making it serious, you are busy in many spheres of agriculture, your soils are very fertile, which means that you have a tremendous agricultural potential. Ukraine has a very ancient history and established culture. This surprised me the most. Well, I read about this and knew this before, but reading and seeing everything with your own eyes are different things’.

A visit of National Geographic’s photojournalist to Agro-SoyuzLast two days James spent at Private JSC «Agro-Soyuz». He was taking pictures of agronomists when they were planting winter crops; combine operators during grain and forage sorghum harvesting; tractor operators that were packing a silage pit and workers covering it from weather; pig farmers and operators of a milking parlor. Initially ostrich farming was not part of shooting, since ostriches are not typical for Ukraine. But James was impressed by the size of the ostrich herd — about 5,000 birds — and he just couldn’t walk by. He was bravely taking pictures of ostriches in their pens, literally under their feet.

‘I am impressed and astonished by the size of Agro-Soyuz and the diversity of product that you produce. In the States it is very rarely when a large enterprise is operating in so many various spheres. You raise cows, pigs and ostriches, you have crop production and all these operations are part of only one enterprise. Very impressing!’