Seventy-four lucky FFA members just returned after a two-week adventure in South Africa. The past and present state FFA officers, representing 24 states, participated in the 2018 International Leadership Seminar for State Officers (ILSSO) as an annual, international opportunity through the National FFA Organization.
The officers surveyed the agricultural landscape; 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, abalone producers, and more.
“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.
Those students who participated in the South Africa trip were: Ethan Angel of Glenwood, Ark.; Allison Wheatley of Clayton, Del.; Wolfgang Fry-Eastin of Plant City, Fla.; Kyle Garner of Groveland, Fla.; Kaylin Kleckner of Ocala, Fla.; Taylor Proctor of Deltona, Fla.; Mitchell Singleton of Molina, Fla.; Robert Sistrunk of Williston, Fla.; Cassandra Bond of Earlham, Iowa; Caleb Finnegan of Guthrie Center, Iowa; Carli Grau of Ankeny, Iowa; Peyton Schmitt of Birmingham, Iowa; Antonia Wallin of New Market, Iowa; Rachel Zumbach of Coggon, Iowa; Sydney Anderson of Nampa, Idaho; Randy Clements of Rexburg, Idaho; Skyler Denio of Hoxie, Kan.; John Kennedy of Soldier, Kan.; Eli Ohlde of Clyde, Kan.; Marie Reveles of Hays, Kan.; Riley Sleichter of Abilene, Kan.; Harley-Anne Hamilton of Carver, Mass.; Ashley Abuelhawa of Mt. Airy, Md.; Justin Arnold of Myersville, Md.; Cahlen Cheatham of Frederick, Md.; Autumn Lippy of Union Bridge, Md.; Mikayla Stockman of Jefferson, Md.; Lexis Trickett of Oakland, Md.; Madeline Meyer of Ionia, Mich.; Wendy Bauman of Raymond, Minn.; Katherine Benson of Staples, Minn.; Kylee Kohls of Litchfield, Minn.; Emily Pliscott of Kenyon, Minn.; Madeline Weninger of Buffalo, Minn.; William Cornelius of Nettleton, Miss.; Sheridan Johnson of Conrad, Mont.; Hailey Coufal of Howells, Neb.; Jake Judge of Atkinson, Neb.; Kelli Mashino of Spencer, Neb.; Jessica Rudolph of Gothenburg, Neb.; Isabelle Stewart of Columbus, Neb.; Brock Vetick of Lyons, Neb.; Lydia Vinton of Whitman, Neb.; Sarah Kelly, of Dorothy, N.J.; McKenna Moore of Woodstown, N.J.; Rebekah McCarty of Reserve, N.M.; Laetitia Ray of Alamo, Nev.; Ethan Keller of Sharon Springs, N.Y.; Camille Ledoux of Croghan, N.Y.; Marleigh Kerr of Swanton, Ohio; Ryan Matthews of Leesburg, Ohio; Kolesen McCoy of Springfield, Ohio; Jensen Kemble of Nyssa, Ore.; Kourtney Lehman of Baker City, Ore.; Emma Rooker of Bend, Ore.; Wade Rynearson of Union, Ore.; Gabriela Santa Cruz Enriquez of Parkdale, Ore.; Richard Wesenberg of Sutherlin, Ore.; Jaclynn Knutson of Centerville, S.D.; Andrew Streff of Salem, S.D.; Elizabeth Arwood of Johnson City, Tenn.; Erin Bacon of Dandridge, Tenn.; Kenzie Bastian of Jonesborough, Tenn.; Julia Knaggs of Gallatin, Tenn.; Mary Minatra of Rockvale, Tenn.; Alletress Shankle of Paris, Tenn.; Ahmon Watkins of Murfreesboro, Tenn.; Theresa Seibel of Roanoke, Va.; Taylor Enns of Bonney Lake, Wash.; Mollee Gray of Liberty Lake, Wash.; Sydney Klaveano of Pullman, Wash.; Kelci Scharff of Airway Heights, Wash.; Seth Smith of Tonasket, Wash.; and Alaina Smith of Red House, W. Va.