Saving the Cherished Blue & Gold

Written By: Kenna Lewis, Brock Center Associate Editor

As “National FFA Week” sweeps the nation, images and memories of the blue and gold have dominated social media.

But with the release of Governor Brown’s 2014-2015 budget proposal, and the noticeably missing Agriculture Education Incentive Grant (Ag Incentive Grant), many wonder what the future of FFA programs in California will hold.

Since the inception of the Ag Incentive Grant in 1983, it has provided roughly $4.13 million annually to high school agriculture programs across the state. The funding is made available through matching grants to schools that are going above basic course standards.

In order to receive the funding, chapters are regularly monitored from Local Ag Advisory Committees ensuring that the most innovative and hands on curriculum is being utilized. With such great incentive to constantly improve local programs, California’s FFA membership has grown to over 74,000 students.

For many schools, this is their primary source of funding for various FFA needs, from getting students to and from conferences and contests, to modernizing the chapter’s equipment and technology. This grant is crucial in providing chapters with the tools to educate students on the importance of agriculture, and provide them with out-of-the-classroom experiences to discover what their role in the industry could be.

As California is the leading agriculture producer in the nation, it is imperative the students across the state continue to receive the innovative and vibrant teachings of agriculture education. The negative effects of losing such a grant will not go unnoticed, and now more than ever agriculturists and supporters alike must band together to secure the future of agriculture education.

To learn more about the Agriculture Education Incentive Grant please visit www.calaged.org.

About Brock Center for Agricultural Communication

The Brock Center for Agricultural Communication has aggressively pursued the following goals to heighten public awareness and understanding of agricultural issues: *Locate and attract prospective undergraduate students who demonstrate aptitude for communication and have an abiding concern for agriculture. *Assist the university's Colleges of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences and Liberal Arts in preparing these students to be effective professional communicators, through learn-by-doing opportunities. *Serve as a resource and vehicle for the continuing education of those in a position to promote the understanding of agriculture. *Promote the professional development of university faculty through teaching, research and service to agriculture communication. *Develop and maintain a website as a resource of information on agricultural issues to serve students, faculty, media professionals, agriculturists and the public.
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