Big Bend Japanese Ag Training Program enters 54th year

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2018 JATP class with Mayor.

Members of the 2018 Japanese Agricultural Training Program pose with Moses Lake Mayor Karen Liebrecht at last year’s welcome dinner.

For the 54th consecutive year, Big Bend Community College (BBCC) is participating in the Japanese Agricultural Training Program (JATP). Forty-two trainees arrived on the BBCC campus Friday (March 29th) eager to begin their 19-month adventure in the United States.

Trainees will spend their first nine weeks taking English as a Second Language classes at Big Bend while getting an introduction to American Culture and American Agriculture. They will live in the dormitories at Big Bend and also take some introductory American Agriculture classes.

Following their time at BBCC, the trainees move on to host farms throughout the United States where they will spend the next 14 months developing skills in their chosen agricultural career specialty. Trainees specialize in dairy, beef, swine, poultry, landscaping, potted plants, cut flowers, vegetable, citrus, and fruit.

“They go all throughout the United States on to different farms, where they learn about the farms, the management and the production that’s going on there,” said JATP Director Stacey Cobb.  “When they’re finished with that, they go to University of California at Davis where they have more specialized training in their individual majors.”

During their time in Moses Lake, BBCC is encouraging local residents to invite trainees in the JATP for short home visits to help the students soak in American culture and experiences. These interactions are many times the first opportunities for the trainees to get a glimpse of family life in America.

“We try to make sure every trainee gets to experience life in a local home, from an American perspective,” said JATP Director Landra Kosa. “They are always thrilled to meet an American family, see an American home and practice their English.”

In the past, local families have taken trainees for various recreational outings. In recent years, trainees enjoyed bowling, various outdoor activities such as hiking with host families but also appreciate a simple lunch or dinner and the opportunity to interact.

Host families provide transportation to and from the residence halls at Big Bend. To arrange to host JATP trainees, contact JATP Program Assistant Coralee Gill at 509-793-2297 or coraleeg@bigbend.edu.