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Franklin County farmer accepted into agricultural boot camp

Franklin County farmer accepted into agricultural boot camp

Franklin County agriculture teacher Morgan Washburn is among 15 women from across the U.S. who were selected to participate in the American Farm Bureau Women’s Communications Spring Boot Camp.

Washburn, who serves on the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Women’s Leadership Committee, will join the intensive training April 1-4 at the AFBF office in Washington. Participants will build skills to help them better communicate about agriculture and Farm Bureau. They also will enhance their leadership and advocacy skills in preparation for strategically addressing Farm Bureau priority issues.

“I applied for the boot camp because I wanted to build my agricultural advocacy skills and work with a community of empowered women ready to take on leadership roles,” Washburn explained. She said that while she feels comfortable speaking up for agriculture in Franklin County, she wants to expand her skills so that she can become a voice of agriculture across the entire state.

“I hope to learn more about communication and advocacy so I can act upon local media opportunities, join social media campaigns to share positive messages about agriculture, and be able to plan outreach events where I can influence and inform consumers about farming.”

Washburn teaches agriculture at Franklin County High School, where she also serves as an FFA adviser and mentor. She and her husband live on Circle W Farms, a small third-generation farm where they raise Hereford cattle, micro-miniature donkeys, fainting goats and chickens.

Washburn was named the Virginia Association for Career and Technical Education 2024 Teacher of the Year. The award recognized her work starting a mobile agriculture classroom with a grant she received at the beginning of the school year.

“We are going to go around to the middle and elementary schools with our classroom and FFA students to put on mini ag days, and teach them about all the different types of agriculture,” Washburn said. Additionally, she partnered with Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom’s 2023 Teacher of the Year Jennifer Hatch to start an agriculture club at Franklin County Middle School. The 50 middle school students in the club get to visit farms in Franklin County to learn about different agricultural opportunities.

Washburn holds a doctorate in educational leadership from Liberty University. She also earned a master’s degree in agriculture education and a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness from Virginia Tech.

She is a member of the Franklin County Farm Bureau Young Farmers Committee, Sigma Alpha Alumni and the Virginia Association of Agricultural Educators. She also serves on the Franklin County Cattlemen’s Association board of directors, the Franklin County Ag Advisory Committee and the Franklin County High School CTE Advisory Committee.

With almost 135,000 members in 88 county Farm Bureaus, VFBF is Virginia’s largest farmers’ advocacy group. Farm Bureau is a non-governmental, nonpartisan, voluntary organization committed to supporting Virginia’s agriculture industry.