Seven collegiate FFA members to fight hunger in Rwanda

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INDIANAPOLIS—The National FFA Organization has selected seven collegiate FFA members to participate in the FFA Global Outreach: Africa (FFA GO: Africa) program. Through this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, the students will travel to Rwanda, Africa, July 13 - Aug. 2, 2011, to help local farmers fight hunger and poverty through sustainable agriculture. The group will experience firsthand the reality of food insecurity, agriculture and conservation issues in a Sub-Saharan African country where the average annual income is at or below $1,500.
The 2011 FFA GO: Africa participants are:
  • Jeffrey Barnes – Leland, Ill., Joliet Junior College
  • Ashley Breitnauer – Cedaredge, Colo., Oklahoma State University
  • Elizabeth Eastep – Yanceyville, N.C., North Carolina State University
  • Thomas Griffin – Culver, Ore., Oregon State University
  • Victoria Marsh – Carbonado, Wash., Washington State University
  • Brett Monson – Webster, S.D., South Dakota State University
  • Jamie Renier – Denmark, Wis., University of Wisconsin-River Falls
The group traveling to Rwanda will be led by Trisha Bailey, chief operating officer for H. Beck, Inc., and a former national FFA officer from Florida.

FFA believes it is imperative for students to learn how agriculture affects the global community and to understand how geography, politics and natural resources availability can impact agriculture’s ability to feed a rapidly growing world population,” said Dr. Dwight Armstrong, National FFA chief executive officer. “Acquiring an appreciation for the dynamics and complexities of these issues will prepare students to play active roles of leadership and service in addressing critical needs, ensuring the sustainability of agriculture and promoting food security for all.”
The goals of the FFA GO: Africa program are to engage students at a personal level in global issues and challenges of agriculture, food, hunger, poverty and human suffering; provide opportunities for service learning in developing countries; and inspire students to serve and make a positive humanitarian difference in the world through agriculture.
Participants will begin their experience with a two-day orientation in the United States before departing for Kigali, Rwanda. Once there, they will live and work for two weeks with the staff of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), an organization that helps impoverished and disadvantaged people throughout the world. The students will participate in activities to gain a broad understanding of the challenges faced by small-scale farmers and the many environmental conflicts that arise from income- and food-insecure families.
FFA GO: Africa is a program of the National FFA Organization funded as a special project of the National FFA Foundation through a generous gift from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation.
Bill Stagg
About National FFA Organization
The National FFA Organization, formerly known as Future Farmers of America, is a national youth organization of 523,309 student members as part of 7,487 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. The National FFA Organization operates under a Federal Charter granted by the 81st United States Congress, and it is an integral part of public instruction in agriculture. The U.S. Department of Education provides leadership and helps set direction for FFA as a service to state and local agricultural education programs. For more information visit, or follow FFA on Facebook, Twitter and FFA Nation.
About National FFA Foundation
The National FFA Foundation builds partnerships with industry, education, government, other foundations and individuals to secure financial resources that fund FFA activities, recognize member achievements, develop student leaders and support the future of agricultural education. Governed by a 19-member board of trustees comprised of educators, business leaders, individual donors and FFA alumni, the foundation is a separately-registered nonprofit organization. For more, visit the National FFA Foundation at