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IFYEs Share Their Experiences in Washington

October 19, 2022  


Eight IFYEs return home from six host countries

L to R - Alec Dompka, Marit Hovey, Traci Ross, Anne Thompson, Sarah Liepold, Rachel Gray, Josie Noland, and Jackson Tubbs

Eight IFYEs returning home from six host countries recently stopped by the US Capitol for a “Meet-N-Greet” with Congressional staffers for Senators and Representatives on the Senate and House Agriculture Committees.

The IFYEs from Michigan, Kansas, Iowa, North Carolina, and Colorado shared real-life experiences gained in their two- and three-month stays in Morocco, South Korea, Austria, Norway, Germany, and Wales. They answered questions about the IFYE program and emphasized its history of sharing knowledge about international trade, innovative agriculture developments, and cultural factors often key to building world markets for U.S. agricultural products and services.

Held in a Capitol conference room (kindly arranged by Iowa Senator Joni Ernst and staff), the session was also attended by IFYE Association’s National Program Director Alan Lambert, Interim Executive Director Carolyn Hansen, President Janet Wood, IFYE Director Jessica Braxton, and IFYE alumni Hannah Norby, Amaris Daniels and Bob Jenkins. Ms. Wood commented: “IFYE is nonpartisan and we are meeting with key decision makers guiding the legislative process. IFYE sends exchangees abroad and welcomes them from other countries, too. We’ve been mostly self-funded by very generous alumni. To meet increasing participant interest in our program we are seeking added financial support via the 2023 Farm Bill."


Over two more days at the Capitol, IFYE Association officials met with Senators, Representatives, and more staffers. Ms. Hansen noted: “We outlined what many with an agriculture - farm or industry - connection already know. IFYE builds lifelong international relationships with 'Peace Through Understanding.'”

The mid-September Washington trip was IFYE’s second aimed at funding inclusion in the 2023 Farm Bill. IFYEs and Association officials will hold more Capitol Hill meetings over the next several months.

IFYE celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2023, having partnered with more than 90 countries. Through face-to-face, cultural immersion in two-, three-, and six-month stays, young adults aged 19 and older live and work with host families in their ag-related enterprises. Established in 1948 as International Farm Youth ExchangeTM and after years of USDA support, IFYE became independent in 1994. Once only rural-based, IFYE today welcomes urban and rural participants with an ag connection, often through college studies. Recent program expansions include for-credit college alliances plus teaming with corporate sponsors like the United Soybean Board, National Sorghum Producers & Compeer Financial.

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