From raising 4-H market lambs to leadership projects with FFA, Oakdale native Tiffany Thompson has always wanted to impact the agriculture industry. Thompson knew her time in 4-H and FFA would lead to an exciting future and now she is taking her experience across the globe as an AgriCorps Fellow where she will promote food security and agricultural education in Ghana.
Thompson will spend the next five months working as an agriculture teacher, 4-H advisor and agricultural extension agent at a school in Ghana. She will be working with the school’s 4-H club to develop student leadership skills and innovation of improved technology with the local farmers.
“I’ve had a passion for agriculture for as long as I can remember,” said Thompson. “Growing up on a ranch and raising livestock in 4-H and FFA gave me a deep appreciation for the agriculture industry. To me, deepening my understanding of global agriculture is the best thing I could do as I transition from college student to young industry professional.”
Tiffany is the oldest of four Thompson sisters and, at 23, just graduated from Cal Poly SLO with a degree in Ag Communications. She graduated from Oakdale High School in 2013 and is the daughter of John and Jolene Thompson. Her sisters, also all OHS graduates, are Melissa, 21; Denise, 20; and Natalie, 18.
“Tiffany graduated cum laude which means she had between a 3.50 and 3.69 GPA. She did very well there and was a Resident Advisor for the dorms two years while there,” mom Jolene said of her time at Cal Poly. “That includes working at the front desk in the dorms, planning events and activities for the residents, doing rounds and making sure all is well, and keeping the peace between roommates and neighbors, making sure each follows the rules of the dorms. She was also nominated as the top RA for the year. She was also very involved with her church in San Luis Obispo.”
AgriCorps, a US-based non-profit, sends young, American agriculture professionals into developing countries to share the agriculture education models of 4-H and the Future Farmers of America that transformed American agriculture over the past century.
Texas rancher and AgriCorps Founder, Trent McKnight, said, “AgriCorps Fellows shift perceptions of agriculture in young people by teaching them how to make money through farming.”
This year Thompson joins eight other Fellows serving in Ghana. On the ground AgriCorps partners with 4-H Ghana to provide support and the exchanging of ideas to increase awareness of agricultural education and improve the capacity of existing 4-H clubs.