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Wensman employees visit Chile, fly out one day before quake

Jon Wensman, Angie Rutt (quality assurance manager for AgR) and Amy Olson stand near a field.1 / 2
Wensman's conference room table was overflowing with donated items for a recently completed drive.2 / 2

Wensman Seed Production Manager Jon Wensman and Administrative Manager Amy Olson spent the week of Feb. 21-26 in the winter production fields in Chile. They were part of an AgReliant team that reviewed the fields and facilities in an area between the cities of Santiago and Conception.

The team took stand counts and examined ears to help estimate yields. They visited 26 fields within a 400 mile area. They reported there were lots of bumpy roads between fields.

Wensman and Olson flew out of Santiago late evening on Feb. 26, just a few hours before the early morning earthquake on Feb. 27. In fact, they did not know about the quake until they landed in Atlanta the next morning. They were very fortunate as the epicenter of the quake was close to where they had stayed. The fields were not impacted by the seismic activity and the soon-to-be-harvested corn should be shipped out on schedule.

"I was in Chile for a week before the earthquake struck," Wensman said. "Most of my time was spent in the rural areas of the country looking at our seed fields. The people of Chile are going into their fall-winter periods as the seasons in South America are just the opposite of ours. I called the manager of our seed fields after the earthquake and he stated that staying warm would be the biggest issue for most of the displaced people. It was then that I thought about rounding up as many tents and sleeping bags as I could. The students and staff of WDC are to be commended for their caring attitude and generosity. We'll be shipping the donated items directly to our seed field manager for distribution to the local people who need it the most."

The drive recently concluded and no more donations are being taken at this time.