Ahead of FFA’s 2020 International Leadership Seminar for State Officers in Spain and Portugal, Idaho officers Katy Doumit of Troy and Shalani Wilcox of Menan look forward to learning firsthand how farmers in those countries deal with agriculture’s challenges and opportunities.
“Being able to tour many different agribusinesses and farms from a new, diverse perspective will have a great impact on my future career,” said Doumit, state FFA sentinel. “Learning more about international agriculture and business will help me to have a complete view of agriculture’s impact on society around the world.”
She is interested in how young farmers in the countries approach agricultural production.
“I come from a family that is heavily involved in agriculture, and I have been encouraged to learn as much about global agriculture as possible,” said the Madison chapter’s Wilcox, who is the state FFA vice president. She plans to explore cropping and land trends on the Iberian Peninsula, and production challenges and opportunities.
All Idaho FFA officers are slated to attend the Jan. 2-15 seminar: Doumit and Wilcox, Secretary Cassidey Plum of Meridian, Reporter Sydney Plum of Meridian, Treasurer Katie Hettinga of Kuna and President Herman Roberts of Preston.
The seminar aims to empower current and past state officers by providing a global perspective. Students raise funds to attend the seminar. The 2019 edition was in South Africa.
Sydney Plum said she expects the experience to apply to her University of Idaho studies — a major in agricultural sciences communication and leadership with minors in Spanish, international agriculture and public relations.
“This is an opportunity for me to further discover what my passions are within these areas,” she said. “My goal is to take what I learn overseas and apply it to my education.”
Cassidey Plum is majoring in agricultural education at UI.
“I thought, What better way to learn about international agriculture than to experience it firsthand?” she said. “I am thrilled to be able to potentially bring back the information that I learn while I am abroad to the classroom one day.”
Marcia Jedry, state FFA Foundation executive director, said the trip provides students with opportunities to see how agriculture works in another part of the world, and identify ways to improve as well as to work with other students and producers.
Clara-Leigh Evans, state FFA Association executive director, said participating students develop leadership skills in a new way, and “get a unique and refreshing perspective, a more global perspective.”