The grant, which is designed to provide matching funds for districts who meet state approved program standards in agricultural education, has become a necessity for many programs within Central California, including the Patterson High School’s Future Farmers of America student organization.
Although Governor Brown agreed to keep the program running this year, changes are in the works to end the $4.1 million in funding for the state’s 315 agricultural programs, which poses a threat for over 74,000 students in agricultural programs in California.
“This funding would instead be absorbed into the Local Control Funding, which means that it would no longer be designated for agriculture programs,” said Gilbert. “Previously, this grant was used to fund all FFA/Agriculture Program activities, including leadership conferences, community service, class materials, fair preparations, and local FFA events.”
As part of the rally, the students were able to tour the Capitol, take part in the press conference, and visit the Ag Day celebration.
Gilbert said numerous State politicians were present to meet with the students, but Assembly member Rudy Salas was the focus. Salas urged the students and press to spread the word about Assembly Bill 2033, which would reinstate the Ag Incentive Grant.
California FFA Vice President, Valerie Canas, also urged the FFA members to keep fighting for funding. She referred to the 78,000 members in the California FFA, and all that the agriculture programs around the state teaches students.
“Overall, our members had a great time and are looking forward to attending more FFA events in the future,” added Gilbert.
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