Local FFA'ers to visit Russia

April 16, 1998|By LISA GRAYBEAL

by Richard T. Meagher / staff photographer

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FFALocal FFA'ers to visit Russia

They've been on modern farms, operate the latest in equipment and machinery, and have access to some of the best information by living in the richest agricultural country in the world.

Now 12 Washington County students involved in Future Farmers of America are going to see another side of agriculture and a different way of life when they spend two weeks in Russia in July.

"It's going to be a different and interesting experience. They do things a lot differently over there," said Paul Kelley, 16, a junior at Clear Spring High School.


After a 10-hour flight to Moscow followed by an 18-hour train ride, the FFA students will end up in the Samara region, which is southeast of the country's capital on the Volga River.

There, they'll be greeted by Russian students with whom they'll share living quarters at a camp. Some of those Russian students plan to travel to Washington County next year.

"This trip, though it's an agricultural group going, is also a cultural experience," said Sharon Boyer, one of the adult chaperones on the trip who's traveled to the country five times.

While the students are there, they'll visit a dairy farm and a collective farm, where a group of people work together on one piece of land, Boyer said.

On these farms, the FFA students will get to see things done the way their grandparents probably did things, said Don Boyer, Sharon's husband, who's also going on the trip.

Grasses are cut by hand using scythes, he said, and in most cases cows are still milked by hand and animals are used to pull crude equipment in the fields.

"It'll be like moving back in time. The difference is light years from the way they farm there and the way we farm here," Sharon Boyer said.

The students also will take a trip down the Volga River, see a glass-making factory and car manufacturer, and end the trip with three days in Moscow.

"I've never been out of the country before. This is a once in a lifetime experience," said James Kirby, 15, a freshman at Clear Spring.

Aside from the shots that are recommended for travelers and getting over the language barrier, the students are eager to take the trip if, for nothing else, to check out the McDonald's restaurant in Moscow.

"We have to go to McDonald's," said Matt Michael, 16, a junior.

"It's the biggest one in the world," Kirby added.

When the Russian students visit Washington County, the students said they plan to take them on tours of local farms and orchards, travel to the Chesapeake Bay, and tour Washington, D.C., among other sites.

The FFA students, from Clear Spring High School, South Hagerstown High School, and Smithsburg High School, sold subs, pizzas and flower bulbs, and washed cars to raise money for the trip.

On Friday, June 5, a bingo night will be held at the Wacohu Grange Hall, on U.S. 40 at Huyetts Crossroads. Doors open at 5 p.m. and bingo begins at 6 p.m. Proceeds will go toward funding the trip.

For tickets and more information about the bingo night, call 301-842-2629.

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