In the case of Big Bend Community College’s (BBCC) Japanese Agricultural Training Program (JATP), a lot has happened, and Wednesday, more than 100 former trainees, host farmers and others involved in the program congregated at BBCC to celebrate the program’s half a century of existence.
The Japanese Agricultural Training Program is a work training education program in which Japanese farm youths come to the United States to work and train on American farms. Trainees spend nine weeks at BBCC learning English and being introduced to American agricultural practices. Then, they are sent on their way to different host farms around the country, where they spend the larger part of a year working and learning.
More than 5,200 trainees from Japan have attended BBCC as part of the JATP. Many made their way back to Big Bend Wednesday to celebrate the 50-year mark of the program.
Attendees at Wednesday’s event took campus tours during the afternoon and enjoyed a social hour before the banquet began. After dinner, the former trainees, host farmers, and others who have been involved in the program through the years heard remarks from dignitaries and officials from both countries.