Seeing Agriculture from Two Different PerspectivesPosted on Jul 1, 2020
“I feel like we should be more appreciative towards our food supply, not only for ourselves, but out of respect for our farmers and for those people in other countries less fortunate than we are.”
Hung Wei Yu was born in Taiwan, moved to America as a freshman in high school, and became a regional FFA officer before graduating from Seneca High School in Louisville, where he served as the FFA Chapter’s Vice President. Those are not bad accolades for someone who came to this country speaking very little English, with little knowledge of agriculture and even less about FFA.
In fact, a school with agriculture classes was something he had never heard of until Seneca.
“I had no idea what agriculture was or anything about agriculture classes in school,” he said. “We did not have that in Taiwan.”
But after registering for a Principles of Ag class, his sophomore year, he got a taste of what ag-ed was like and was hooked.
“I thought, ‘Oh this is cool’ and I tried my best to be a good student,” he said.
Kristan Wright, Seneca FFA’s adviser, knew immediately he would benefit from being involvement in the organization.
“After his first year, he asked how to be more involved and that’s the thing; he wanted to learn more about it,” she said. “So, he took home one of the FFA manuals that we have, and he read the entire thing over the summer and memorized some of it.”
From there, Wright said Hung Wei’s interest in FFA grew by leaps and bounds because of his dedication and his personality.
“He wanted to gain as much knowledge as he could, so he volunteered to do everything,” she said. “I mean he's just a fun person to be around. He kind of draws people in.”
Even so, Hung Wei admitted he was a little nervous when he joined FFA. But that wouldn’t last for long.
“I was kind of scared at first, because I was really quiet and I'm really shy,” he said. “But after attending my first FFA banquet and watching old officers retiring and new ones being inducted, it inspired me, and I told my adviser that I wanted to try and become an officer. It really sparked my interest.”
In addition to the valuable leadership skills he gained, Hung Wei continued learning about agriculture. His unique perspective of having lived in both Taiwan and the U.S. allowed him to recognize some of the differences between the two countries’ food supply.
“Taiwan is a small island with a high intensity population, meaning there’s not a lot of land for farming, so agriculture is done differently there; different technology, and a different style of farming,” he said. On the other hand, in United States, we have a lot more land to grow food on, but there are many more people to feed here.”
Hung Wei emphasized how he was taught from an early age that food should not be wasted, and he is amazed at the amount of food that can be found here in the many different grocery stores.
“After getting into FFA, I started learning about how farmers work so hard to produce food for everyone, and it's amazing, seeing that,” he said. “I don't know how they manage to produce all that food to meet the needs for our citizens; it’s amazing!”
In marveling at the production ability of the America farmer, Hung Wei also sees that a lot of food goes to waste in this country.
“I feel like people are starting to lose their consciousness of having all this food or maybe they are used to having so much, they don’t think about it ever running out,” he said. “But that’s a thing in other countries that don’t have enough. I feel like we should be more appreciative towards our food supply, not only for ourselves, but out of respect for our farmers and for those people in other countries less fortunate than we are.”
Hung Wei is now a student at the University of Louisville and has brought his message to many of his friends there.
“Sometimes while I’m with my friends in the cafeteria, or out eating pizza, or fast food, I’ll see them toss away something and I’ll ask them if they know how much sweat and tears were put into those products, not only by farmers, but people who prepare all that food,” he said. “So, I do find myself talking about our farmers and praising them for producing our food.”
Hung Wei has taken his message to other students and family members and credits his time in FFA with bringing him out of his shyness to be able to do so.
“FFA brought me out of my shell and made my comfort zone bigger and bigger, until I basically had no comfort zone,” he said. “I'm comfortable doing things I wouldn’t have dreamed of as a freshman in high school. The organization is like a family or a tree with many branches that will connect us through life and it’s an experience I would never trade for anything.”
KFB Farming Footnote
Kentucky Farm Bureau Studios and the Kentucky FFA partnered to create a one of a kind story, “I Believe | Kentucky FFA.” The documentary follows the FFA journey of three students from diverse backgrounds, including Hung Wei Yu, as they explore agriculture The video has aired nationally on RFD-TV and will soon be online airing on various social media platforms.