INDIANAPOLIS (Wednesday, June 22, 2016/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 50 National FFA award winners toured agricultural sites in Costa Rica this summer and compared the industries in Central America and the United States. Following an orientation session in Atlanta on June 9, the group departed 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 2016 Costa Rica Proficiency and Stars Travel Seminar immersed 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 88th National FFA Convention in Louisville, Ky. The seminar, in addition to cash awards and plaques, are made possible by business and industry contributions to the National FFA Foundation.
Through June 18, the group visited Dole's Costa Rican banana farm, several of the country's large and small production farms, a Starbucks coffee plantation, and rainforests. They also took in plenty of sights during their trip. FFA members toured the Costa Rican capital of San Jose, one of the country's national parks and a host of popular tourist destinations.
During the seminar, students had an opportunity to truly experience global agriculture and the culture of Costa Rica. The international seminar is an educational study seminar designed to introduce the award participants to agriculture as it is practiced in other countries.
Students who participated in the trip include:
California: Jillian Drake of Fallbrook; Kiana Almaguer of King City
Colorado: Cody Corsentio of Wiggins
Florida: Haley Stark of Deland
Georgia: Sarah Spradlin of Comer
Illinois: Amy Wyant of Morrisonville
Indiana: Madison Boston of Sullivan; Riley Lewis of LaGrange
Iowa: Kellie Einck of Primghar; Emily Martins of Fairbank
Kansas: Casey Craver of Gypsum; Stone Hayden of Chapman
Kentucky: Nicholas Hope of Beech Creek
Louisiana: Christen Wall of Holden
Minnesota: Rebekah Aanerud of Donnelly; Brett Petersen of Murdock
Missouri: Dylan Massa of Lamar; Benjamin Niendick of Wellington; Jacob Noblitt of Bolivar; Clayton Robinson of Center
Nebraska: Logan Peters of Pender
Ohio: Emily Beal of Conover; Zeb Burton of North Fairfield Minster; Sarah Cox of Chillicothe; Collin Dunaway of Felicity; Zach Hasting of Covington; Kelsey Kirchner of Conover; Ellyse Shafer of Bellville; Nathan Teeters of Fletcher
Oklahoma: Reighly Blakley of Oologah; Baylea Block of Harrah; Kaylee Brunker of Stillwater; Jacob Cammack of Edmond; Dakota Crissman of Pauls Valley; Bayli Hyde of Burlington; Kohl Murray of Perkins
South Dakota: Andrew Streff of Salem
Tennessee: Anita Best of Cookeville; Caleb Brannon of Puryear; Britney Kellum of Burlison
Texas: Lacie DeRojas of Dawson; Britt Larson of Pilot Point; Rory Tucker of Tomball
Virginia: Claire Seibel of Roanoke
West Virginia: Sarah Page of Burlington
Wisconsin: Eric Coddington of Montello; Zachary Olson of Arkdale; Lindsey Rettenmund of Black Earth; Stephanie Theil of Plymouth; Kelly Wilfert of Two Rivers
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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