I-CAL 2014: Days 8-10 in Japan

Editor’s Note: The International Collegiate Agricultural Leadership (I-CAL) program travels overseas to learn about global agriculture and international marketing. The group of 12 Collegiate FFA members departed the U.S. on May 20 for a 10-day tour of Japan where they engaged U.S. Embassy officials and government leaders; toured feed mills, animal markets, small farms and livestock operations; and toured food processing plants, among other activities. ICAL 2014 is made possible through support from The Grains Foundation.

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Day 8 – Albert’s farm

5/28/14

Today we had the opportunity to visit a rice farmer named Albert.

Albert showed us a friend’s rice farm that is located on a mountain side. Planting in the mountains requires terrace paddies – or multiple flooded fields built in step on a hillside that requires water to filter down from other fields. Terrace paddy farming is high risk because farmers depend upon other fields out of their control for irrigation. The limited space on the terrace makes planting and harvesting with equipment near impossible. The price of rice is continuing to drop here, making it more difficult to make it ones only source of income. However, rice from the mountains often tastes better because of the cold water used from the mountains. Continue reading

I-CAL 2014: Days 4-7 in Japan

Editor’s Note: The International Collegiate Agricultural Leadership (I-CAL) program travels overseas to learn about global agriculture and international marketing. The group of 12 Collegiate FFA members departed the U.S. on May 20 for a 10-day tour of Japan where they engaged U.S. Embassy officials and government leaders; toured feed mills, animal markets, small farms and livestock operations; and toured food processing plants, among other activities. ICAL 2014 is made possible through support from The Grains Foundation.

Day 4 – Tokyo, Hama-rikyu Gardens, Ginza Street

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5/24/14

Today we had the opportunity to sight-see around Tokyo and learn more about their cultural heritage. Japan’s culture is very unique and rich in history. We started the day off by walking from the hotel to the Emperor’s Palace which was in the center of Tokyo. The Palace was extremely beautiful surrounded by trees and colorful gardens. We walked to the hill located on the palace grounds which gave us a scenic view of Tokyo. It was exciting to be able to see an overview of the city and its many sights. Continue reading

ICAL 2014: Days 1-3 in Japan

Editor’s Note: The International Collegiate Agricultural Leadership (I-CAL) program travels overseas to learn about global agriculture and international marketing. The group of 12 Collegiate FFA members departed the U.S. on May 20 for a 10-day tour of Japan where they engaged U.S. Embassy officials and government leaders; toured feed mills, animal markets, small farms and livestock operations; and toured food processing plants, among other activities. ICAL 2014 is made possible through support from The Grains Foundation.

Day 1 – We’re in Japan!

The ICAL 2014 group prior to departure.

The ICAL 2014 group prior to departure.

Our flight went really well. It was about 12-hours and during the flight we flew over the Alaskan Islands, which was pretty cool! We were on one of United Airlines’ new planes called the Dreamliner and it was phenomenal. Even the food was tasty!

We met Tommy Hamamoto, Director of the US Grains Council in Japan, at the airport and drove about 1-hr to Tokyo from Narita. It was rainy and cloudy, which seems to be a common trend here in Japan.

We drove past Disneyland, Tokyo and over a couple of waterways that led to the Pacific Ocean. It’s strange to think that we’re now on the opposite side of the ocean from the U.S. Continue reading

FFA Members Honored at 2014 White House Science Fair

Celine Patrick and Ashlee Tarro of the Sumner FFA Chapter in Washington were honored Tuesday at the White House.

Celine Patrick and Ashlee Tarro of the Sumner FFA Chapter in Washington were honored Tuesday at the White House.

Two FFA members who solved a plant infestation problem in their high school greenhouse were honored Tuesday at a White House event for students who excel in science.

Celine Patrick, 15, of Lake Tapps, Wash., and Ashlee Tarro, 15, of Auburn, Wash., are members of the Sumner High School FFA chapter in Sumner, Wash. Both were invited to the 2014 White House Science Fair that celebrates the accomplishments of student winners of a broad range of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions throughout the U.S.

This year’s event includes a specific focus on girls and women who have excelled in STEM and inspired the next generation with their work. Continue reading

Smithsonian: Tell Us Your Story of Agricultural Education

If you were a member of FFA, 4-H, or other agricultural education program as a kid, you know just how powerful these experiences can be.

Now you can share it with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History!

The museum is embarking on a project to fill its Agricultural Innovation and Heritage Archive. The online repository is geared to collect and preserve the history of modern agriculture.

Share your agricultural education story now!

Obviously, agricultural education — and FFA — have played a huge role in the development of American agriculture, which is why the museum is launching an effort to collect, preserve, and share stories of regular people from around the country whose lives have been touched by programs and activities. Continue reading