Story by Wu Xia | Yunnan-Guizhou Regional Project Officer
Photo by Zhu Jiaming | Local Project Partner | Heifer China
Pan Shengguang, 22, became the first person among 200 villagers to make and use silage (fermented fodder) in Lao Yingwo Village, China. Now he wants to help others learn the process.
Silage is made from corn, legumes or grasses. The harvested crops are finely chopped and stored in silos. The silage ferments, converting it into feed for livestock, which keeps for several months.
Pan knew the technology would be extremely beneficial for local farming regions that suffer from grass feed shortage in winter. But he never tried to produce it.
After graduating from primary school, Pan returned to his family's farm and married at a young age. He and his wife take care of the farm because his parents are migrant workers.
Heifer China gave Pan and his family a small goat and offered silage production training. Pan showed great interest. He bought his own mower, built a silo and successfully began producing silage with guidance from Heifer China staff.
In the winter of 2012, his livestock were well-fed and flourished.
"In the past, I was a selfish person," Pan said tearfully. "Once I was asked to help build a water tank in my village. I rejected the request with the excuse of being so busy. And I didn't allow my wife to participate in community cultural activities - now I feel regretful."
In May 2013, Pan attended the Heifer Project Management Committee meeting. He shared his successful experience with other self-help groups (SHGs) and encouraged them to begin producing silage.
A lack of understanding made it difficult for other SHG members in Ma'an Village to accept the new technology. But Pan said he will make the most of every opportunity Heifer has provided.
"I will make some changes in the future and do more to serve other villagers and communities."