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Agricultural day in the Capitol


Friday, April 11th, 2014
Issue 15, Volume 18.
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Assemblymember Marie Waldron

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As the nationís leading agricultural state, California remains the nationís breadbasket. By declaring March 19 Ag Day in the Capitol, the Legislature recognized the need to support this vital industry, especially during this period of prolonged drought.

†Agricultureís impact on the stateís economy cannot be overemphasized. California is the number one producer of a list of crops that is too long to reproduce here. The list includes locally grown crops such as avocados, lemons, strawberries and grapes, products that help place San Diego and Riverside in the top tier of Californiaís agricultural counties.†

†Given the vital importance of the stateís ag industry, educating our future farmers must be encouraged and supported. Unfortunately, Governor Brown seems to be going in the opposite direction with a proposal that would curtail or eliminate the Agriculture Education Incentive Grant Program (AEIGP). This program supports 315 agricultural programs that currently enroll over 75,000 high school students statewide.†

I believe that ag education must remain an integral part of Californiaís school curriculum. Consequently, I recently joined 22 of my colleagues on the Legislative Rural Caucus to send a letter to Governor Brown asking for continued funding for the AEIGP. The Governorís proposed cuts will be subjected to intense scrutiny; indeed, legislation has already been introduced to restore the funding.†

†Educating future generations of Californiaís farmers must remain a top priority. After all, the products grown by those farmers will feed the nation and much of the world.


 

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