|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 1 , 2008
|Contact: Pam Madzima - 205 652 9676|
Wisconsin Future Farmers of America Visit Federation of Southern Cooperatives
EPES, ALABAMA....On January 14-18, 2008, members of the Wisconsin Future Farmers of America (FFA) visited the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund's Training & Research Center in Epes, Alabama to learn and to assist. Eleven officers of the FFA visited the Federation/LAF where they helped in the construction of a goat pen to keep out deer and with a plasticulture project. The youth ranged from ages 18 to 21 and were college students. (Please click here to see the photos of the Wisconsin State FFA participants.)
The majority of the youth came from farm families, most of which are in the dairy industry. These young FFA members were not accustomed to goat production nor had they been exposed to limited resource minority farmers and agriculture production on small acreage. As stated in the press release from the FFA "This year, the Wisconsin State FFA State Officers, in an effort to show commitment to service, traveled to Epes, Alabama to reach outside their home state to not only gain knowledge of other types of agriculture, but to carry out the last line of the FFA motto: 'Living to Serve'." (See the press release below.)
Federation/LAF Acting Forestry Coordinator, Pam Madzima, hosted the group. "It was a learning experience for all of us," acknowledged Pam. "I'm not used to youth who are part of an agriculture tradition with such huge acreage and huge agriculture production as what the Wisconsin FFA members shared with us. We know they were interested in learning about our agriculture in the South as well. They told me they expected to see more cattle production than we have. In fact, our farmers are now moving into goat production as a new and developing niche market. In the South we have a sizable migrant population that requests goat meat so we are reaching out to them." Being from Zimbabwe, Pam was surprised to see a group without a Black member. She said that one of the Wisconsin youth told her, surprisingly, that in his small town there was only one Black couple.
Pam said further that "We at the Federation/LAF so appreciate the opportunity to meet these students and for their assistance. They expressed interest in coming back to Epes and we hope they return in the near future."
"One of the impressive activities that occurs in farming is the outreach of various agriculture groups around the country to assist and to learn," said Ralph Paige, Federation/LAF Executive Director. "It is particularly important when youth of different ethnic and racial groups share and learn about each other's agriculture traditions and history. We hope to continue this relationship with the Wisconsin FFA."
Press release from the Wisconsin State Future Farmers of America (January 2008)
Future Farmers of America (FFA) is an organization that focuses on service. This year, the Wisconsin State FFA State Officers, in an effort to show commitment to service, traveled to Epes, Alabama to reach outside their home state to not only gain knowledge of other types of agriculture , but to carry out the last line of the FFA motto: “Living to Serve”.
|Note: The Federation/LAF, now in its 40th year, assists Black family farmers across the South with farm management, debt restructuring, alternative crop suggestions, marketing expertise and a whole range of services to ensure family farm survivability.|
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