INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — As the agricultural community becomes increasingly global, it is crucial that young people considering careers in the industry understand the opportunities and challenges of international trade. A group of 48 national FFA award winners will tour agricultural sites in Costa Rica this summer and compare the industry in Central America and the United States. Following an orientation session in Miami on June 9, the group will depart for a 10-day tour.

Costa Rica is an ideal agricultural tour site as it includes some of the most diverse agriculture and geography in the world. Yet, the country is small enough that the contingent selected for the National FFA Organization’s 2015 Costa Rica Proficiency and Stars Travel Seminar will be able to immerse themselves into a complete agriculture experience.

Seminar participants were selected from national agricultural proficiency award finalists and American Star Farmer and Star in Agribusiness finalists named last October at the 87th National FFA Convention and Expo in Louisville, Ky. The seminar, in addition to cash awards and plaques, is made possible by business and industry contributions to the National FFA Foundation.

Through June 18, participants will visit Dole's Costa Rican banana farm, the Corsicana pineapple plantation, several of the country's large and small production farms, a Starbucks coffee plantation, a forest biological reserve and rainforests. They’ll also be taking in plenty of sights during their trip. FFA members will tour the Costa Rican capital of San Jose, the country’s National Park and a host of popular tourist destinations.

During the seminar, students have an opportunity to experience the global agriculture and culture of Costa Rica. The international seminar is an education study seminar designed to introduce the award participants to agriculture as it is practiced in other countries.

Locally, Jessica Woodworth of Burlington participated in the event.

During and after the experience, highlights of the journey will be shared on the National FFA blog.

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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