Monday, 1 December 2014

NY farmers say schools need more agricultural ed

Dive Brief:

  • Farmers in upstate New York fear a deficit in agricultural education options will hurt the state's locally grown produce market.  
  • According to New York's Department of Agriculture and Markets, in 2012, the state's agricultural production brought in $5.7 billion. Still, many local schools have curriculum that do not reflect the burgeoning demand for farmers.  
  • The Tioga County Farm Bureau is one of many farm bureaus in the state that approved motions that would lead to more farm classes in the state.  

Dive Insight:

Michele Kline, an agricultural team leader for Tioga County Cornell Cooperative Education, explained to the Gazette Star how many schools don't understand the benefits of agricultural education. “Speaking for Tioga County, when students go to their guidance counselor, agriculture (as a profession) isn’t an option that is shared or encouraged,” she said. “There are many, many jobs (in the ag profession). It’s difficult for someone to be a successful dairy farmer unless they have some kind of continuing education in farming. It’s highly technical nowadays.”
New York is not alone when it comes to states with increased interest in agricultural education. In May, Louisiana's House Education Committee passed a bill calling for the creation of an agriculture education immersion pilot program by the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.Under the bill — which created a commission of advisers tasked with designing agriculture-related curriculum and activities for the involved districts — schools would be able to opt into the pilot program.
Currently, the business sector is increasingly tied to the education arena, with district superintendents making alliances with local businesses and the business sector giving money to schools. The trend stems from the belief that the U.S. economy will tank if students are not prepared to enter the business world. Given this trend, it should be no surprise that farmers, who represent a large economic market, have the same stake in the game.

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