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Columbia Grain Launches the “Columbia Grain Legacy Program” to Cultivate Agriculture Education with Local FFA Chapters

PORTLAND, OREGON (JUNE 2023) — According to the USDA, the average age of farmer producers in the U.S. in 2017 was 57.5[1]. This statistic highlights the need for investment in education and the development of a new wave of agriculturists to ensure a steady food supply for generations to come. The newly launched Columbia Grain Legacy Program was created to do just that. The CGI Legacy Program cultivates growth in the next generation of farmers by supporting local Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapters through a sustainable, hands-on grain marketing program.

Columbia Grain International (CGI) is a global leader in the origination, processing, logistics, and distribution of high-quality bulk grains, pulses, edible beans, oilseeds, and organics for U.S. domestic and worldwide export markets. They have trusted relationships with local producers throughout Washington, Idaho, Montana, and North Dakota. Because of their lasting relationships with U.S. producers, CGI is at the frontline of understanding what is needed to maintain a thriving agricultural industry. FFA is the premier youth organization preparing members for leadership and careers in the science, business and technology of agriculture.

CGI recently launched its Legacy Program with Idaho’s local FFA chapter at Nezperce High School in Nezperce, Idaho. In this program, FFA students originate soft white wheat donation bushels from local farmers and receive in-classroom marketing education from CGI. The FFA chapter uses all funds generated through the program to send students to leadership conferences and events that will help better develop future leaders in agriculture. CGI’s pilot Legacy Program allowed 19 students to attend the Idaho FFA State Leadership Conference in Twin Falls, ID, at a reduced rate. Future funds from the program will go towards FFA member travel to both the Idaho FFA State Leadership Conference and the National FFA Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana in the fall of 2023.

“This program is outstanding for our up-and-coming agriculturists and I hope the program takes off across the Pacific Northwest. By developing marketing strategies, gaining an understanding of marketing terminology, and learning by doing, the CGI Legacy Program is providing students with industry-related fundamentals,” said Kyle Stapleton, the agriculture science and technology teacher at Nezperce High School and Nezperce FFA advisor. “It really helps students understand that there is so much more to agriculture than ‘cows and plows.’”

CGI has two more regional FFA Legacy Programs in development at this time, including one on Camas Prairie.

“Through CGI’s FFA Legacy Program, we are developing and inspiring the next generation of our agricultural community on the Camas Prairie,” said CGI’s Grangeville, Idaho Location Manager, Brandon Rehder. “This hands-on grain marketing program will help broaden the education of our industry, giving young people exposure to the entire process of grain origination and marketing.”

Columbia Grain International is cultivating the future of agriculture, one FFA chapter at a time.

About Columbia Grain International

Since 1978, Columbia Grain International™ (CGI) has been Cultivating Growth as a global leader in the origination, processing, logistics, and distribution of high-quality bulk grains, pulses, edible beans, oilseeds and organics for U.S. domestic and worldwide export markets. Headquartered in Portland, OR, CGI’s reliable supply chain spans the western region of the US, ensuring abundant ingredients for all of its partners, thanks to their trusted relationships with their farmers throughout the fertile croplands of  Washington, Idaho, Montana and North Dakota, well known for its high-quality wheat, feed grains, canola and pulses. CGI is an owner of Montana Specialty Mills, who operates an organic and non-GMO oilseed crushing facility in Great Falls, Montana, a mustard seed facility in Conrad, Montana, and most recently Montana Craft Malt —providing specialty malt barley from Montana farmers to the craft brewing world. Today, they are vertically integrated, operating assets including grain elevators, processing plants and agronomy centers to support their farmers, which stretch the northern tier of the United States. With multiple touchpoints across the food supply chain, CGI provides trusted solutions and cultivates high-quality ingredients from their local farmers for a farm to table philosophy that nourishes the world, safely.

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