RUSSELLVILLE, Mo. — Five Russellville FFA students will take their agriculture experience out of the country for the first time this summer.
Advisor Ellen Amos coordinated with other Missouri FFA chapters for an "Agriculture in the UK and France" trip. The tour is organized through Education First, an international company that specializes in educational travel.
"I graduated from here in 2008. This is probably the first one that is FFA sponsored," Amos said.
With approval from the Russellville school board, the organization began fundraising last year. They raised about $6,000 at the Figure 8 Derby at the Russellville Lions Club, which is used to help offset the cost of any student trips. Other fundraisers helped reduce the out-of-pocket cost for students.
After a few days of travel, the group will arrive in Dublin, Ireland, to watch sheepherding, make fresh bread, take traditional dance lessons and stop for a Causey Farm experience.
In England, the students will have the chance to visit Hackney City Farm and explore a historic market.
"We're going to go into London and do the regular history tour, as well as agricultural tours," Amos said. "While we're there, we want to make sure they get the full experience."
The tour will begin in the Grosvenor Square, the site of the U.S. embassy, and will include stops at the Tower of London and the London Bridge.
Other farm tours and activities planned include cheese tasting, riding the Eurostar and a tour around Paris.
"I just want my students to have a global view of what agriculture is," Amos said. "They can take some of the practices they use in Europe and apply them and see in a real-world situation how the United States and Europe are similar and, definitely, how they're also different."
She said she hopes the students can bring those experiences home and remember them for the rest of their lives.
The group will return after 12 days.
A second FFA trip will be the Washington Leadership Conference with advisor Nathan Strobel in July. The trip will focus on how members can serve their communities and become engaging citizens.
"FFA is one of the most premier leadership organizations that a student can be a part of, and we really focus on that leadership at WLC," Amos said.
Students will get to tour D.C., including the Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, war memorials and the Capitol, and meet legislators.