7 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 work from July 13-Aug. 2 in Rwanda, Africa, to help local farmers fight hunger and poverty through sustainable agriculture.

The students will experience the reality of food insecurity, agriculture and conservation issues in a sub-Saharan African country where the average annual income is $1,500 or below.

The 2011 FFA GO: Africa participants are:

Jeffrey Barnes from Leland, Ill., a student at Joliet Junior College
Ashley Breitnauer from Cedaredge, Colo., a student at Oklahoma State University
Elizabeth Eastep from Yanceyville, N.C., a student at North Carolina State University
Thomas Griffin from Culver, Ore., a student at Oregon State University
Victoria Marsh from Carbonado, Wash., a student at Washington State University
Brett Monson from Webster, S.D., a student at South Dakota State University
Jamie Renier from Denmark, Wis., a student at University of Wisconsin-River Falls

The FFA GO: Africa group 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 National FFA Organization CEO Dr. Dwight Armstrong. “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. There, they will live and work for two weeks with the staff of Catholic Relief Services, 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 and is funded as a special project of the National FFA Foundation through a gift from the Howard G. Buffett 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 agriculture education. Nearly 82 percent of all funds received by the foundation support FFA and agricultural education opportunities.

Formerly known as Future Farmers of America, the National FFA Organization provides agricultural education to more than 523,000 student members in grades seven through 12 who belong to one of 7,487 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The organization operates under a federal charter granted by the 81st U.S. Congress and it is an integral part of public instruction in agriculture. For more, visit http://www.ffa.org.


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