In an earlier article, I talked about the California Ag Incentive Grant. California FFA members, advisors, alumni, and advocates have been fighting to keep the grant for months now. We thought that we were getting close to winning the battle, until Governor Brown released his final decision about the 2014-2015 revised budget released on May 13, 2014. He has made the decision to cut the Ag Incentive Grant from the budget.
In a press release from the California Agricultural teacher’s Association, Jim Aschwanden says:
“We are extremely disappointed that Governor Brown has ignored the groundswell of support coming from both legislative and grassroots sources voicing support for continuing Ag Education funding in California, the leading agricultural-producing state in the nation” said Jim Aschwanden, Executive Director of the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association. “The Governor had an opportunity to exhibit an awareness of the importance of a vibrant, sustainable agricultural industry to our state’s economy, but chose not to address this important issue within his May Revise. His continued lack of support for high quality, rigorous program standards sends a clear message to school districts that agriculture education programs are not important for the future of our state economy”
With the elimination of the Ag Incentive Grant, it will make it difficult for some chapters to stay afloat. Without the grant, FFA will function on a local fundraising program. This means we won’t have the extra government support needed to function sufficiently. Some smaller chapters don’t have the resources to fund their programs. With limited resources, our agriculturists of tomorrow will start to miss out on opportunities. Contests, field days, conferences, they all start to suffer. AEIG funds are also used to modernize equipment and technology. The grant provides vital resources for the growth of our chapters, and state as a whole. Our governor’s attitude of “If it’s a valuable program, the schools will find a way to fund it” is not helping. The more that a program like the FFA suffers, the more it will have potential to hurt our country in the long run. After all, we are the future farmers of America. Something people don’t always understand about FFA is we aren’t just the future farmers, we are the future scientists, future politicians, future business women and men of America. We simply can’t afford to let this program suffer.
SLO Horse News is committed to help keep FFA programs alive and well in the Central Coast. Please join our email list and follow us on Facebook for updates on how you can be involved with our efforts.
(Pictured above, CAFFA members met at our capitol to voice their opinions on the #SAVEFFA campaign. )