Lord Botetourt High School graduate and Virginia’s State FFA Chapter President Tess Seibel was among the 52 National FFA award winners from around the country who visited Ireland in June.

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, the National FFA announced.

The FFA award winners toured agricultural sites in Ireland and compared the industries of Ireland and the United States.

Following an orientation session in New York City on June 8, the group headed off for the nine-day tour.

Participants were selected from the 188 National FFA Agricultural Proficiency Award finalists and the 16 American Star Award national finalists named last October at the 89th National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis.

Seibel won the Agriscience Research –Animal Systems Proficiency Award at the National FFA Convention.

The international experience, as well as cash awards and plaques, were made possible by business and industry contributions to the National FFA Foundation.

Through June 16, participants visited dairy, sheep, mussel and potato farms and a water buffalo dairy. In addition, they visited a beef farm, which is one of the original members of the West Cork Beef Producers’ Group, and the Irish National Stud Thoroughbred Horse breeding facility.

FFA members also visited Blarney Castle, experienced the famed Ring of Kerry, viewed famous mountains and lakes and visited the dramatic 650-foot Cliffs of Moher.

During the trip, students had an opportunity to experience global agriculture and the culture of the Emerald Isle. The international travel experience is an educational study trip designed to introduce award participants to agriculture as it is practiced in other countries.

Students participating in the trip came from 22 states.

The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 649,355 student members who belong to one of 7,859 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The organization is also supported by 225,891 alumni members in 1,934 alumni chapters throughout the U.S.

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