KLAMATH FALLS – Klamath Community College students are cultivating awareness about agriculture and have established the first collegiate Farm Bureau chapter in Oregon.
The chapter was established in May and will replace KCC’s Future Farmers of America chapter, according to ag student and chapter president Victoria Flowers.
Flowers said the chapter aims to close the knowledge gap between the fridge and the farm by introducing students and the public to agriculture and teaching them about the importance of ag and about issues facing the industry today.
According to Flowers, although 77 college-level Farm Bureau chapters are established in 22 states, none have been established in Oregon or surrounding areas.
“We are definitely the first of our kind in the Northwest,” said agriculture instructor Keith Duren.
According to the Oregon Farm Bureau (OFB) website, the OFB was established in 1932. The OFB classifies itself as a grassroots, nonprofit organization that represents interests of the state’s family farmers and ranchers and promotes educational improvement, economic opportunity, and social advancement for its members.
According to Flowers, KCC’s ag students decided to pursue a collegiate Farm Bureau chapter after the FFA notified the club that the organization was disbanding the collegiate-level clubs to focus on FFA high school clubs.
Duren, who will be the chapter’s advisor, said Farm Bureau has already injected the chapter with enthusiasm.
“Most Americans nowadays are three generations removed from the farm,” Flowers said. “I’ve met kids who have never seen a cow and don’t realize that’s what gives us milk.”
Students who participate in KCC’s collegiate Farm Bureau chapter will have opportunities to mentor FFA high school students and to raise food awareness at public events, such as the county fair and farmers’ markets, and at KCC campus events and with KCC clubs.
Duren noted that another value the chapter provides students is opportunities to network with professionals outside the campus community.
“They don’t just meet people from our part of Oregon; they meet people from all over the United States. This is such a varied industry – there are people who rent honeybees for a living, people who grow hazelnuts, and people who grow tobacco, and it’s all part of agriculture,” he said.
KCC’s collegiate Farm Bureau chapter has five officers, including Flowers, and about eight other students who regularly participate. The chapter is open to all KCC students, regardless of program of study, Flowers said.
Duren said he believes KCC students’ pioneer spirit could set an example for other colleges.
“They’re an exciting group. It’s often a challenge at a two-year school to do a whole lot with extracurricular clubs because they just don’t have that much time,” Duren said. “This group has hit the ground running, and I’m really proud of them.”
Flowers said the next chapter meeting will be held after fall term starts in September.
For more information, contact Victoria Flowers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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