INDIANAPOLIS (National FFA Organization) – During the past two weeks, 83 FFA members visited South Africa for a 12-day educational and cultural experience.
Members participated in the 2019 International Leadership Seminar for State Officers (ILSSO) as an annual, international opportunity through the National FFA Organization. The seminar allows FFA members to experience a foreign culture, learn about international agriculture and become more knowledgeable regarding the global marketplace.
Eighty-three past and present state FFA officers representing 26 states left the United States on Jan. 4. The group traveled throughout South Africa 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.
“We hope that through a structured experience like ILSSO, students will not only see the importance of agriculture on an international level but understand it is essential to feeding the world,” says Eric Nelson, program manager with the National FFA Organization. “This seminar exposes students to culture and food production practices beyond what they are accustomed to in the United States,” Nelson says.
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://www.ffa.org/the-feed/
Those students who participated in the trip were: Maggie Edwards of Graham, Ala.; Summer Parker of Enterprise, Ala.; Zachary Andrews of Camden, Ark.; Brenna Cannon of Jonesboro, Ark.; Lauren Murtagh of Sharon, Conn.; Jake Fitzpatrick of Wimauma, Fla.; Artha Jonassaint of Okeechobee, Fla.; Justus Jones of Trenton, Fla.; Elanie Mason of Parrish, Fla.; Tylre Potter of Deltona, Fla.; Kendall Prescott of Lake Placid, Fla.; Hannah Wagner of Ocoee, Fla.; Dellon Barber of Donalsonville, Ga.; Alexis M. Berte of Algona, Iowa; Gweneth Black of Jefferson, Iowa; Laken Mullinix of Akron, Iowa; Harrison Jansen van Beek of Caldwell, Idaho; Caleb Johnston of New Plymouth, Idaho; Saydee Longhurst of Idaho Falls, Idaho; Melanie Searle of Burley, Idaho; Savanah Stroeble of Kuna, Idaho; Garrett, Craig of Wakefield, Kan.; Miranda Depenbusch of Udall, Kan.; Michael Dowd of Olathe, Kan.; Max Harman of Inman, Kan.; Krissy Isle of Independence, Kan.; Scuyler Zenger of Washington, Kan.; Mattie Mink of Elizabethtown, Ky.; Jack Sisson of Westport, Mass.; Adelia Chandan of Mount Airy, Md.; Jasmine Coates of Forest Hill, Md.; Sydnie Grossnickle of Unionbridge, Md.; Guilianna Kukor of Frederick, Md.; Sabrina Mann of Walkersville, Md.; Jesse Walls of Hancock, Md.; Kristin Klager of Saline, Mich.; Laura Church of Hastings, Minn.; Lauralee Marie Eaton of Pine Island, Minn.; James Mathiowetz of New Prague of Minn.; Grace Taylor of Randolph, Minn.; Kegan Zimmerman of Lamberton, Minn.; Colleen Ellzey of Ellisville, Miss.; AK Mynatt of Corinth, Miss.; Seth Rekdal of Shepherd, Mont.; Halie Andreasen of St. Edward, Neb.; Brooke Bell of David City, Neb.; Graden Marshall Johnson of Holdrege, Neb.; Marie Meis of Elgin, Neb.; Amanda Most of Ogallala, Neb.; Jordan Popp of Broken Bow, Neb.; Christine Albrecht of Belleplain, N.J.; Josh Loew of Newport, N.J.; Jake Newkirk of Bridgeton, N.J.; Jamie Specca of Bordentown, N.J.; Kait Tallamy of Phillipsburg, N.J.; Olivia Parkin of Warwick, N.Y.; Austin Becker of Plain City, Ohio; Gretchen Lee of Pettisville, Ohio; Andrew Gmirkin of Trail, Ore.; Mackenzie Price of Oakland, Ore.; Holly Silvey of Bend, Ore.; Sundee Speelmon of Nyssa, Ore.; Devin Thacker of Canby, Ore.; Dylan Westfall of Hermiston, Ore.; Cristina LaPaglia of South Kingstown, R.I.; April Hamilton of Hitchcock, S.D.; Anna Grace Brown of Humboldt, Tenn.; Chloe Ford of Jonesborough, Tenn.; Garrett Franklin of Celina, Tenn.; Tarrah Ivy of Decaturville, Tenn.; Luke Love of Murfreesboro, Tenn.; Makenzie Moorhead of Taft, Tenn.; Ruth Fitzgerald of Arrington, Va.; Newlin Humphrey of Palmyra, Va.; Ethan Jackson of Moneta, Va.; Kendall Knicely of Bridgewater, Va.; Nathan McDonald of Strasburg, Va.; Matthew Myers of Culpeper, Va.; Claire Siebel of Roanoke, Va.; Katherine Thompson of Cross Junction, Va.; Zach Schilter of Chehalis, Wash.; Elizabeth Ours of Maysville, W.Va.;