INDIANAPOLIS (Thursday, January 29, 2015/National FFA Organization) –FFA members recently returned from a 14-day educational and cultural experience in South Africa.
Members participated in the 2015 International Leadership Seminar for State Officers, an annual, international opportunity through the National FFA Organization for past and present state FFA officers. The experience allows FFA members to experience foreign culture, learn about international agriculture and become more knowledgeable of the global marketplace.
Seventy-five past and present FFA officers representing 23 states left the U.S. on Jan. 4. The contingent traveled throughout five of the country’s nine provinces while surveying the agricultural landscape. FFA officers met with government and U.S. Embassy officials to learn about U.S.-South African trade relations, toured a host of crop and livestock operations, met with business and industry leaders and explored big-game reserve Kruger National Park as well as Robben Island, the former prison where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for 18 years of his life. The group also met with producers and consumers of various economic classes to better understand local culture and food purchasing decisions. The most gripping encounter came with a visit to an impoverished settlement area in Soweto township outside Johannesburg.
Prior to departing the United States, the students completed ten weeks of online coursework related to cross-cultural adaptability. The program was made possible by corporate sponsors Bunge North America and John Deere.
Those who participated in the experience include: Lacey Newman of Tallassee, Ala.; AJ Cannon of Seaford, Del.; Evan Davis of Laurel, Del.; Jana Caracciolo of Clermont, Fla.; Mylie Feaster of Plant City, Fla.; Victoria Harris of Valrico, Fla.; Brandon McKee of Okeechobee, Fla.; Angie Patino of Sebring, Fla.; Austin Polk of Bell, Fla.; Logan Kelly of Coon Rapids, Iowa; Abrah Meyer of Readlyn, Iowa; Lee Thomsen of West Des Moines, Iowa; Michael Tupper of Ionia, Iowa; Renee Kinzinger of New Athens, Ill.; Andrew Klein of Amboy, Ill.; Willow Krumwiede of Pittsfield, Ill.; Cody Morris of Lerna, Ill.; Kyle Apley of Olsburg, Kan.; Taylor Green of Gypsum, Kan.; Jeffrey Hadachek of Cuba, Kan.; Bethany Schifferdecker of Girard, Kan.; Simon Chantelle of Morland, Kan.; Richard Mathis of Amite, La.; Christen Wall of Holden, La.; Monica Aguilar, Mass.; Brianna Mann of Stoneham, Mass.; Jenell Eck of Henderson, Md.; Jeni Lacko of Frederick, Md.; Ashley McAfee of Smithsburg, Md.; Taylor O'Guinn of New Windsor, Md.; Tori Poole of Brunswick, Md.; Hannah Schantz of Fallston, Md.; Valerie Earley of Wykoff, Minn.; Dalton Kampsen of New London, Minn.; Erin Larson of New Richland, Minn.; Kyla Mauk of Howard Lake, Minn.; Jack Roessler of St. Charles, Minn.; Tony Buchanan of Silver Creek, Miss.; Shelbie Dalton of Byhalia, Miss.; Neela Andres of Bozeman, Mont.; Caitlin Creighton of Missoula, Mont.; Breanna Bregel of Carrington, N.D.; Bryce Lynne of Plaza, N.D.; Katie Vculek of Crete, N.D.; Paige Dexter of Amelia, Neb.; Colton Flower of Scottsbluff, Neb.; Blair Hartman of Champion, Neb.; Amanda Lambrecht of Kennard, Neb.; Brandon Nichols of Bridgeport, Neb.; Ben Rice of Firth, Neb.; Andrea Wach of Wauneta, Neb.; Hope Cahill of Tinton Falls, N.J.; Ben Wainwright of Cream Ridge, N.J.; Kait Isaac of St. Johnsville, N.Y.; Brady Rogers of Hurleyville, N.Y.; Ashley Willits of Copenhagen, N.Y.; Sydney Snider of Moscow, Ohio; Brecklin Milton of Ontario, Ore.; Ian Oppenlander of Madras, Ore.; Meghan Stadeli of Silverton, Ore.; Kaden Eisenbraun of Quinn, S.D.; Nicole Hamilton of Hitchcock, S.D.; Nick Baker of Cookeville, Tenn.; Susan Cowley of Fayetteville, Tenn.; Amy Morgan of Cookeville, Tenn.; Elena Smith of Drummonds, Tenn.; Daniel Black of Winchester, Va.; Brittany Bowman of Mount Jackson, Va.; Garrett Coffey of Woodstock, Va.; Alice Cox of Radford, Va.; Zach Jacobs of Swoope, Va.; Morgan Smith of Abingdon, Va.; Ryan Williams of Blackstone, Va.; Megan Miller of Buckley, Wash.; and Connor Anderson of Clear Lake, Wis.
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