INDIANAPOLIS (Tuesday, June 9, 2015/National FFA Organization) –As the agricultural community becomes increasingly global, it is crucial that young people considering careers in the industry understand the opportunities and challenges of international trade. A group of 48 national FFA award winners will tour agricultural sites in Costa Rica this summer and compare the industry in Central America and the United States. Following an orientation session in Miami on June 9, the group will depart for a 10-day tour.
Costa Rica is an ideal agricultural tour site as it includes some of the most diverse agriculture and geography in the world. Yet, the country is small enough that the contingent selected for the National FFA Organization’s 2015 Costa Rica Proficiency and Stars Travel Seminar will be able to immerse themselves into a complete agriculture experience.
Seminar participants were selected from national agricultural proficiency award finalists and American Star Farmer and Star in Agribusiness finalists named last October at the 87th National FFA Convention & Expo in Louisville, Ky. The seminar, in addition to cash awards and plaques, is made possible by business and industry contributions to the National FFA Foundation.
Through June 18, participants will visit Dole's Costa Rican banana farm, the Corsicana pineapple plantation, several of the country's large and small production farms, a Starbucks coffee plantation, a forest biological reserve and rainforests. They’ll also be taking in plenty of sights during their trip. FFA members will tour the Costa Rican capital of San Jose, the country’s National Park and a host of popular tourist destinations.
During the seminar, students have an opportunity to experience the global agriculture and culture of Costa Rica. The international seminar is an education study seminar designed to introduce the award participants to agriculture as it is practiced in other countries.
Students participating in the trip include:
California: Jillian Drake of Fallbrook; Natalie Massa of Willows
Illinois: Emily Bloemer of Bloomington; Thomas Justison of Butler
Indiana: Kaitlyn Buys-McFarland of Commiskey; Jordan Cadle of Orleans; Abigail Cohagan of Rochester; Lauren Evans of Portland; Ethan McNeely of Scottsburg
Kansas: Nikole Cain of Allen; Tristan Davis of Princeton; Drew Miller of Enterprise
Kentucky: Lane Meredith of Hodgenville
Minnesota: Jared Eilertson of Kiester; Dakota Kalis of Wells; Brandon Roiger of Sleepy Eye; Greta Tank of Cottage Grove; Colin Wegner of Wells
Missouri: Dustin Stanton of Centralia; Hannah Straatmann of Washington
Nebraska: Patrick Arkfeld of Dunbar; Travis Poppe of Crofton
North Dakota: Breanna Bregel of Carrington; Audra Montgomery of Carrington; Joshua Stutrud of Barton
Ohio: Chrysta Beck of Archbold; Madeline Davis of Troy; Audrey Hoey of Chillicothe; Derek Hoffman of West Lafayette; Elizabeth Klein of Millersburg; Andrew Scharf of Mt. Victory; Thomas Shaw of Greenville; Gretchen Straits of Millersburg; Samantha Wander of Bellville; Lauren Williams of Tipp City
Oklahoma: Mason Pitts of Glencoe
Pennsylvania: Ruby Monn of Shippensburg; Kathryn Osborne of Millerstown
South Dakota: Ethan Vanderwal of Bruce
Texas: William Braack of Pilot Point; Caylie McCulloch of Frisco; Dakota Zapalac of La Grange
Virginia: Whitney Bowman of Mount Jackston
Washington: Dennis Grelis of Tacoma
West Virginia: Jessica Woodworth of Burlington
Wisconsin: Andrew Helmer of Plymouth; Jared Holwerda of Randolph; Justin Runde of Janesville
During and after the experience, highlights of the journey will be shared on the National FFA blog.
The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 610,240 student members who belong to one of 7,665 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
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About National FFA Organization The National FFA Organization is a national youth organization of 629,367 student members as part of 7,757 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, visit the National FFA Organization online at
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About National FFA Foundation
The National FFA Foundation builds partnerships with industry, education, government, other foundations and individuals to secure financial resources that recognize FFA 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. About 82 percent of every dollar received by the foundation supports FFA members and agricultural education opportunities. For more, visit