FFA members return from South Africa

Staff report

INDIANAPOLIS – During the past two weeks, 75 FFA members visited South Africa for a 12-day educational and cultural experience.

Members participated in the 2017 International Leadership Seminar for State Officers (ILSSO) as an annual, international opportunity through the National FFA Organization. The seminar allows FFA members to experience foreign culture, learn about international agriculture and become more knowledgeable on the global marketplace.

Seventy-five past and present state FFA officers representing 20 states left the United States on Jan. 4. The group traveled throughout five of South Africa’s nine provinces while surveying the agricultural landscape. FFA officers met with government and U.S. Embassy officials to learn about U.S. and South African trade relations; toured crop and livestock operations; met with business and industry leaders; and explored a private game reserve that is home to lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, and buffalo. The group also met with fruit exporters, olive oil producers and more.

“This seminar exposes students to culture and food production practices beyond what they are accustomed to in the United States,” said Shane Jacques, education specialist with the National FFA Organization. “Our hope is that through a structured experience like ILSSO, these students will see that study abroad opportunities or global internships and careers are not only attainable, but essential to providing a sustainable talent pipeline for agriculture and feeding the world.” Jacques added that, on average, nine out of 10 students who participate in the program admit that they would be receptive to living and working abroad as a result of this experience.

Prior to departing the United States, the students completed eight weeks of online coursework related to cross-cultural adaptability. The program was made possible by corporate sponsors Bunge North America and John Deere.

Students shared their experience throughout their trip on Twitter and Instagram. To see a recap of their adventures, visit: https://pulse.ffa.org/index.php/2016/12/14/follow-ilsso17-to-south-africa/.

Those students who participated in the trip were: Foster Thompson of Jonesboro, Arkansas; Mariah Alvarez of Sebring, Flordia; Hunter Burnsed of Macclenny, Flordia; Anna Conrad of Dover, Flordia; William Jameson of Lake Panasoffkee, Flordia; Emily Little of Sebring, Flordia; Catharin MacFarlane of Deltona, Flordia; Mason Taylor of Cottondale, Flordia; Brett Vorheis of Ocoee, Flordia; Faith Gilman of Commerce, Georgia; Angel Rewis of Fargo, Georgia; Cully Forsyth of Charles City, Iowa; Zach Hamilton of Bryant, Iowa; Zach Hoffman of Creston, Iowa; Chase Kusel of Belle Plaine, Iowa; Blake Lineweaver of Milford, Iowa; Zach Becker of Amboy, Illinois; J.C. Campbell of Little York, Illinois; Corrine Harding of Trivoli, Illinois; Paxton Morse of Eldorado, Illinois; Cody Suddeth of Steward, Illinois; Katelyn Bohnenblust of Clay Center, Kansas; Jacob Grinstead of Hutchinson, Kansas; Grace Luebcke of Marysville, Kansas; Elizabeth Meyer of Tampa, Kansas; Trenton Smedley of Thayer, Kansas; Clara Wicoff of Iola, Kansas; James Clay Ballinger of McKee, Kentucky; Ben Pinkston of Salvisa, Kentucky; Bayli Quick of Saline, Louisiana; Jessica Corazza of Clarksburg, Maryland; Evelyn Etchison of Woodsboro, Maryland; Amanda Farmer of Frederick, Maryland: Ellie Grossnickle of Myersville, Maryland; Nicole Michol of Hampstead, Maryland; Kelcey Trewin of Freeland, Maryland; Josephine Forbush of Byron, Michigan; Loren King of Burr Oak, Michigan; Mariah Daninger of Forest Lake, Minnesota; Clay Newton of Echo, Minnesota; Rebekka Paskewitz of Browerville, Minnesota; Joe Ramstad of Forest Lake, Minnesota Katie Rogers of Worthington, Minnesota; Spencer Wolter of Windom, Minnesota; Kayla Mercer of Walnut, Mississippi; Gabrielle Simpson of Tupelo, Mississippi; Manuel Acosta of Bayard, Nebraska; Christy Cooper of Waverly, Nebraska; Cheyenne Gerlach of De Witt, Nebraska; Kaitlyn Hanvey of Center, Nebraska; Halle Ramsey of Sidney, Nebraska; Collin Swedberg of North Platte, Nebraska; Nicholas Taylor of Nickerson, Nebraska; Josh Loew of Newport, New Jersey; Morgan Rutar of Stewartsville, New Jersey; Renee Stillwell of Cream Ridge, New Jersey; Jeremy Posluszny of Cream Ridge, New Jersey; Erin Langdale of Warwick, New York; Kameron Rinehart of Jeffersonville, Ohio; Trisha Seckel of Caledonia, Ohio; Shea Booster of Bend, Oregon; Liberty Greenlund of Wasco, Oregon; Hailee Patterson of Imbler, Oregon; Bryson Price of Oakland, Oregon; Raymond Seal of Joseph, Oregon; Zanden Unger of Dallas, Oregon; Mackenzie Clark of Cedar Grove, Tennessee; Ally Clark of Decatur, Tennessee; Taylor Curtis of McEwen, Tennessee; Sam Daniel of Covington, Tennessee; Allison Parker of Gallatin, Tennessee; Dalton Teel of Lebanon, Tennessee; Megan Gould of Castle Rock, Washington; Luke Moore of Garfield, Washington; and Andrew Hauser of Eglon, West Virginia.

The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 649,355 student members who belong to one of 7,859 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The organization is also supported by 225,891 alumni members in 1,934 alumni chapters throughout the U.S.

Staff report