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Posted on Feb 28, 2017

I have now arrived at my last host for my exchange! I have moved in with the Osmans and for members that were around in 2013 the twins Liz and Mary Jo came on exchange to Tasmania staying six weeks over the Agfest period, so with faces that I had meet before, and with their parents Bill and Wanda.

Bill and Wanda have built a truck conversion business up over the past couple of decades; creating moulds for backs of trucks. He came up with the idea after a job he had was driving trucks from the west coast of the USA to mid USA, he figured that after they had been used for the long haul trips then people, mostly farmers would then want the trucks but the sleeper cab takes up lots of room so cutting this off and replacing with a day cab would be more use for farmers.

So trucks are brought in to the workshop as a sleeper can and in a week later they can be driven out as a day cab. The business makes all these backs of the cabs to go on these trucks. It has even got big now that they have a franchise in Canada and also sell the kits around America where people can do their own conversions.

During my time with the Osmans I was able to help out with the warehousing part of the system where Liz and I were packing orders up ready to be shipped out and some that they were doing for stock. So after a couple of weeks of building conversion kits and suspension kits I knew lots more than when I walked in to the business. Mary Jo helped a little in the warehouse but was mainly learning the office procedures. 

During my time with the Osmans I also was able to visit some more Sioux Falls scenery that I hadn't got to yet which included the catholic cathedral which refurbished a few years ago which restored a lot of the old architecture and also enchanted it as well. Wanda and I got to the local meat locker (mini abattoir) where we saw beef coming through on the line and packed in to individual lines, and it was also during deer seasons and a really good one at that with three semi trailers full of deer carcass in the parking lot ready to be cut and packaged.

Alan the USA coordinator based in South Dakota was able to arrange to take me up to South Dakota State University (SDSU) for a day where we saw cheese being made - other days ice cream, talking about Australian and American dairy systems and then a tour of the dairy farm. A great day to see what happens in what's know to be the best dairy university in the county.

I also accompanied the girls to other activities that they had on, a really good look about. One particular was the Christmas parade and unlike us was held at 7pm at night which is obviously dark so it is a lights decorated parade which looked amazing!

I left the Osman's on the 9th of December which was the end of my exchange but am continuing on with some personal travel in Canada and the UK where I am planning to meet up with some past exchanges that I have hosted over the past 13 years, so a bit of catching up to do. Some life long friends amongst past exchangees! 

This will concluded my updates from my exchange, on just a last note, if you are thinking about how fun an exchange could be now is the time to start thinking and chatting to your boss about some time off and saving some cash. Most employers will be happy to work with you to have a solution while your away as the experience you have while your away will enhance you as a person.

I would like to thank Betta Milk for being the naming rights sponsor of this exchange, for Rural Youth being the organiser and my employer for giving me such an extended perm of time off in the busiest period of the year, it has been an amazing six months on exchange with its ups and downs but I have come out a different person.

On return beck to Tasmania I would really love to share my experiences with you and your club or club outside of Rural Youth, so please contact me on baylesam@hotmail.com and I look forward to telling you more about my time in the USA .