FFA Q&A: Do You Need Global Awareness to Succeed in Agriculture?

Michael Rouse, the vice president of diversity, philanthropy and community affairs and president of Toyota U.S.A. Foundation, has been with Toyota for 34 years. In 2002 he met with the director of the National FFA Foundation and the National FFA Officers and was impressed by their presence and the statistics and stories they shared. Rouse then became intimately involved in strategies to diversify FFA and has been a key player in the FFA Diversity Project sponsored by Toyota since its inception. Here is a video of some of the great things Rouse and Toyota have supported. We spoke to Rouse to find out why global awareness is so important to students and their future.

FFA:  Why is it important for students to have global experience?

Michael Rouse: Whether they have global experience or not, the globe is coming to America and to them. Continue reading

College students: Study global ag in Brazil through our I-CAL program

By Brian Richardson (curious sheep) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Curious lambs in Brazil.
Photo by Brian Richardson, via Wikimedia Commons.

Collegiate FFA is now accepting applications for its 2013 International Collegiate Agricultural Leadership (I-CAL) program.

FFA will take 12 college students pursuing degrees in the agricultural field to Brazil this spring, tentatively scheduled from May 19-June 1.

The educational program will allow selected students the opportunity to study global agriculture and international marketing. Students will learn about current international trade and cultural issues and gain awareness of how international markets for agricultural products operate. Upon completion of the program, students will give educational presentations to local groups and organizations about their experiences.

The I-CAL program was developed as a partnership with the U.S. Grains Council and the Grains Foundation.

Students do not have to have prior FFA experience to apply. But, they do need to have been a member of one of the following organizations:

  • Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow
  • Agriculture Future of America
  • Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity
  • Alpha Gamma Sigma Fraternity
  • Alpha Tau Alpha
  • Alpha Zeta
  • Block and Bridle
  • Collegiate 4-H
  • Collegiate FFA
  • Farm House Fraternity
  • Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences
  • National Agri-Marketing Association
  • National Agricultural Alumni Directors Association
  • Postsecondary Agricultural Student Organization
  • Professional Landcare Network
  • Sigma Alpha

The deadline for I-CAL applications is 5 p.m. EST Jan. 30. Applicants can learn more about the program and download an application form at http://www.FFA.org/Collegiate.

I-CAL 2012: Vietnam and Malaysia

For the next two weeks, participants in the 2012 International Collegiate Agricultural Leadership (I-CAL) program will be blogging about their travels in Malaysia and Vietnam.  Check back often, as they’ll be sharing some great insights from their trip along with some amazing photos! 

Here’s their first report:

The 2012 International Collegiate Agricultural Leadership (I-CAL) program started in San Francisco, California with orientation and briefings on varies industries on Sunday, May 20.  Everyone got to meet with each other and get familiar with one another as well as learn about the industries that we will be learning about while in Southeast Asia.   During our training we learned about industries ranging from palm oil, aquaculture, rice, poultry, corn and much more before leaving from San Francisco International Airport at 1:30 am Monday.

We had a quick stop-over in Hong Kong, followed by a layover in Singapore.  From there we made our connection to Vietnam, where we have met with our overseas contacts from the U.S. Grains Council.  After making it to the hotel, we had our first meal of Vietnamese noodles before doing a quick debrief of our day.  All of our luggage made it safe and sound and we are all very excited for the next few days in Vietnam before heading to Malaysia!  Tomorrow we will start off with a meeting with representatives from the US Embassy, followed with a tour of a local feed mill later in the day.

National FFA Officers wrap up their trip to Japan…

February 3rd, 2012

A new day began as we left the Tokyo Excel Hotel and made it through the hustle and bustle of the subway system to Tokyo station. The famous bullet train “Shinkanzen” awaited to take us south to Nagoya.  This futuristic train travels over 150 miles per hour. As Mount Fugi appeared, we all took photos of the breathtaking mountain covered in snow.

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Costa Rica – Day 6

~~~Puda Vida from the Half Sliced Pineapples!

Eggs and Bakey, wakey, wakey. Today our day started with a fantastic, state of the art breakfast at the Los Suenos hotel and resort! There was much variety to choose from, and certainly something for every person to enjoy. Some of the options included omelets, waffles, fresh fruit, pastries, and a variety of other things, the list could continue forever. It was indeed fresh and full of Costa Rican flavor.


Adventure. Thrill. Excitement. Adrenaline Rush. All of these words can be used to describe the feelings that the Zip Lining experience brought to us. Immediately following our breakfast, some of us enjoyed this new adventure. The zip lining was option, but after traveling up a mountain on a tractor wagon we made it to our beginning point. There were about fourteen platforms and twelve cables. It was quite the experience that will last us all a lifetime. Continue reading

Costa Rica Trip – Day 5

Feliz Dia Papa! Happy Father’s Day to all of our dads! We woke up this morning in the beautiful shadow of the Arenal Volcano and were greeted by an amazing breakfast. After breakfast our group checked out and loaded up on buses bound for other side of the country!

Although we spent the day driving there were still many sights to see and interesting lessons to be learned. We learned (some of us the hard way) that the roads here in Costa Rica are steep and curvy! A few of us needed motion sickness medicine.

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Costa Rica Trip – Day 4

Pura Vida!

It is said that the Caribbean side of Costa Rica receives approximately 200 inches of rain per year. It seemed as though 195 inches of that rain fell last night as a thunder storm rumbled through with nature’s fireworks illuminating the sky.The soggy morning continued as we ventured to the rainforest. The rainforest lived up to its name as we sported our rain gear.
Within the rainforests of Costa Rica, 5% of the world’s biodiversity can be found. We saw everything from Eyelash Pit Viper to Poison Dart Frogs, along with various flora, such as the Elephant Ear plant and the Palm Stilt tree. Within this rainforest we crossed 6 suspension bridges, one of which was 150 feet in the air and 300 feet long.

Costa Rica Trip – Day 3

Hello my friends!

This morning we were awakened by the sounds of howling monkeys, tropical birds, and exotic frogs. Some of the group took advantage of the opportunity to get up and bird watch. We saw four toucans, the clay colored pigeon (the national bird), social fly catcher, the long tailed tyrant, and other exotic birds. A delicious breakfast of fruit, eggs, and fried bananas followed the bird watching session.

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Lizards, frogs and crocodiles – Day 2 in Costa Rica

Hello, loyal followers!

Day two in the great country of Costa Rica started out with a delicious breakfast at the Gran Hotel in San Jose. After we loaded the buses we took the scenic route through the mountainous country side seeing many waterfalls, exotic plants, and dangerously curvy and narrow roads.

After crossing the continental divide we made our first stop at a fruit stand where we enjoyed sweet mangos, delicious Nanci, locally grown cashews, fresh bananas, and hearts of palm.

I-CAL participants say ‘farewell’ to Columbia and Panama

As we board our flight back to the States we take one more time to reflect on the past two weeks and what an amazing adventure they have been!

Our journey began in Orlando when twelve college students from across the United States came together excited to learn and experience new ways of life and different agricultural practices.