NADeFA Provides Grant to NY Student for International FFA Seminar

The North American Deer Farmers Association (NADeFA), the nation’s leading voice for the cervid industry, is proud to announce its awarding of a special grant to Ashley Willits of New York to travel to the Future Farmers of America (FFA) 2015 International Leadership Seminar for State Officers, held in South Africa.

Willits is an Agriculture Business major at Morrisville State College, and a former New York State FFA president. She was one of only 75 past and present FFA officers to participate in the once-in-a-lifetime experience in South Africa.

The International Leadership Seminar for State Officers (ILSSO) is a two-week experience designated for some of the brightest leaders of the National FFA Organization. Students who attend are immersed into diverse global agriculture and learn about the role the United States plays in the agriculture industry. The trip gave Willits and other participants the opportunity to volunteer in rural South African communities. She also visited leading agribusinesses, feedlots, privately owned farms and many of the natural splendor of South Africa.

“This trip was an unforgettable learning experience. I am so thankful that I was able to represent the United States and learn about the culture and agriculture of the beautiful country of South Africa. The trip would not have been possible without NADeFA’s generous contribution,” says Willits.

To read a day-to-day account of Willits’ trip, visit

“The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to more than 600,000 student members across the country, and we’re very proud to have supported Ashley trip to the international event,” says Shawn Schafer, executive director of NADeFA. “Our country, and indeed the world, is increasing facing unique challenges in agriculture, food and other natural resources. We eagerly support the next generation who will meet those challenges.”

Founded in 1983, the North American Deer Farmers Association is dedicated to the promotion of deer farming and ranching as an agricultural pursuit and serves its members through its educational programs and publications and by providing leadership in setting and maintaining quality standards. NADeFA represents the deer farming industry at all levels of government, and works closely with livestock producers and other organizations to promote ethical standards of conduct and husbandry in deer farming and to actively market standards for deer and deer products. NADeFA representatives are also available to media for expert testimony and information about deer farming and animal health issues, such as Chronic Wasting Disease, EHD and other topics.

For more information about NADeFA programs and membership, call 330.454.3944 or visit