The West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity (WLFC) was pleased to be able to offer support to students of the Myerscough Agricultural College, Bilsborrow near Preston, who were selected for an educational visit to the Texas A&M University, the world’s largest agricultural college, based in College Station Texas. The students departed on 7 May and spend a packed schedule visiting hi-tech agricultural farms and university facilities in southern Texas.
The eight-day visit will provide further education, cultural awareness and is a means to broaden the students’ portfolio. This detailed exposure to non UK practices will give the students a real competitive edge on their return to Lancashire. The visit includes discussions on crop technologies as used in American agriculture, a site visit to the Texas Agrilife Research Farm and other private farms associated with the raising and management of livestock. On their return to the UK the students are expected to give a post trip presentation to peers and others.
The students come from a range of backgrounds and some with limited practical exposure of the world around them. Such a visit truly provides a life-changing experience and a chance to meet with other students and to see working methods adopted by the world leading ‘Aggies.’
The 26 students making the visit have raised much of their travel and living expenses by their own efforts and resources. However, without sponsorship support the expected cost per student would preclude some that would most derive benefit from making such a journey.
Following a detailed examination of the application, the WLFC Community Grants committee agreed that this was a worthy community project and that falling within guidelines, it could and should be supported.
Ian Douglas, the CEO of WLFC and publicity liaison officer Derek Rooney made a recent visit to the college to present a cheque to the value of £3,750. This helped to subsidise the overall travel cost and expenses. This sum comes from those charitable donations made throughout the year to WLFC by the many Freemasons of the Province of West Lancashire, an area covering Barrow in the north to Liverpool in the south.
The presentation party was supported by college senior lecturers Anya Westland and Craig Thomson, the trip organisers.