Japanese ag program

MOSES LAKE - Forty-two trainees participating in the 54th year of Big Bend Community College's Japanese Agricultural Training Program arrived in Moses Lake on Friday to begin their 19-month adventure in the U.S.

The trainees from Japan spend the first eight weeks taking English as a Second Language Classes at Big Bend while getting an introduction to American culture and agriculture. The trainees live in the dorms at Big Bend.

Following their time at the college, the trainees move on to host farms throughout the country where they spend the next 14 months developing their skills in their chosen agricultural career specialty.

“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 Stacey Cobb, director of the Japanese Agricultural Training Program. “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, Big Bend officials are encouraging local residents to invite the trainees for short home visits. The home visits are often 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 program Director Landra Kosa. “They are always thrilled to meet an American family, see an American home and practice their English.”

In the past, local host families have taken the students for various recreational outings, including bowling and outdoor activities.

Any family interested in hosting the trainees can make arrangements with program Assistant Coralee Gill by calling 509-793-2297 or emailing coraleeg@bigbend.edu.