FFA programs help cultivate Hawaii’s next generation of farmers

Sponsored by Bayer

Bayer works collaboratively with local farmers, businesses and schools to make Hawaii’s agriculture industry strong and successful. In an effort to cultivate Hawaii’s next generation of farmers, Bayer Hawaii supports Future Farmers of America programs at local schools and offers a number of agriculture scholarships and internships to students in Hawaii who are interested in pursuing a promising career in agriculture.

Stacie Sasagawa, project lead at Bayer Hawaii, believes the company has a responsibility to work collaboratively with local farmers to make sure Hawaii’s agriculture industry is strong for future generations. In addition to supporting, educating and providing resources to local farmers to help improve farm productivity and food quality for the state of Hawaii, Bayer Hawaii also supports science and agriculture education programs for Hawaii’s youth. Over the years, the company has donated more than $1.2 million and has volunteered hundreds of hours to benefit students and schools throughout the state.

Some of Bayer Hawaii’s educational support programs include: Scholarships to Hawaii students pursuing college degrees in agriculture and the life and agricultural sciences; student internships; grants to help educators purchase equipment, tools and supplies for STEM education programs; and Monsanto Fund’s FIRST Robotics Grant Program.

Waipahu Intermediate School’s Future Farmers of America (FFA) program is one example of how Bayer Hawaii is helping to grow the state’s next generation of farmers. FFA is a national youth organization that prepares students for leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. Waipahu Intermediate is one of only 2 middle school FFA chapters in the state and the only middle school level FFA chapter on Oahu.

In 2018, Waipahu Intermediate students made it to the National FFA Agriscience Fair in Indianapolis. Six students qualified as national finalists for the National Agriscience Fair. Of those students, five traveled to Indianapolis to compete with three different projects, placing 3rd, 6th and 7th.

Ken Kozuma, a teacher at Waipahu Intermediate, stresses that it’s critical to continue to engage and support Hawaii’s youth so they can reach their potential and help sustain local agriculture and food production for future generations. He says the school relies heavily on community partnerships like their partnership with Bayer Hawaii.

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