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California Governor seeks to axe support for FFACalifornia Governor seeks to axe support for FFA

Culver’s donates $30,000 worth of FFA jackets to students in need while California makes plans to eliminate $15 million, which previously supported FFA and CTE programs.

Amanda Radke

May 20, 2017

4 Min Read
California Governor seeks to axe support for FFA
Amanda Radke

Culver’s is making headlines again as the restaurant announced late last week that they had donated 238 blue corduroy jackets to FFA members who may not otherwise be able to afford one.

According to a Culver’s press release, “Local Culver’s restaurants along with Culver’s Support Center worked with the National FFA Organization, which develops its members’ unique talents and explores their interests through agricultural education, to donate over $30,000 to the organization’s blue jacket program.”

The donation was part of Culver’s “Thank You Farmers” program, which aims to build consumer awareness about the importance of agriculture while also supporting future food producers and agricultural leaders.

“For FFA members who have such a passion for agriculture, wearing the blue jacket is a sign of their commitment to the future of agriculture,” said Jessie Corning, senior marketing manager for Culver’s, in the press release. “We’re proud to provide jackets to these deserving students.”

The recipients of the jackets were made through nominations submitted by FFA advisors, and Culver’s worked with the National FFA Foundation to connect deserving members with local restaurants. The jackets will be presented to students later this year.

To date, Thank You Farmers has raised over $1 million in support of the National FFA Organization and Foundation, local FFA chapters and a variety of local agricultural organizations.

Grab yourself a butter burger for lunch this week and feel confident that this restaurant fully supports modern agriculture and our nation’s future food producers.

While this news is fantastic, I have to wonder why Culver’s seems to fully grasp the importance of agriculture in this country while California Governor Jerry Brown seems confused about where his food comes from.

According to the Oklahoma Farm Report, “Gov. Brown has proposed cutting out state support for the FFA program in California. In his 2017-18 state budget released earlier in the year, Brown proposed the complete elimination of funding for the Future Farmers of America program and other programs in Career Technical Education (CTE) serving students throughout California. Also included in these cuts were the elimination of Partnership Academy Programs, the University of California Curriculum Institute for recognizing CTE courses for admission purposes, and professional development activities for CTE instructors.”

In the past, these programs have been funded by $15 million provided by the California Department of Education to support CTE activities and programs. This is the funding the governor seeks to eliminate, and the agricultural community in California is speaking out.

“We are extremely disappointed that Governor Brown has proposed eliminating Career Technical Student Organizations like the Future Farmers of America and other CTE funding in California” said Jim Aschwanden, executive director of the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association, in an interview with the Oklahoma Farm Report. “The loss of these components of CTE will have a devastating effect on programs and teachers statewide. CTE programs remain vitally important to the economic well-being of our state, and this proposal eliminates highly effective programs that have proven their worth over time. We think this is a terrible mistake.”

California lawmakers will deliberate on the budget cut this June, but perhaps Gov. Brown and other elected officials need to be reminded about where their tax dollars actually come from.

In case Brown has forgotten, California agriculture brings more than $47 billion annually to the state. California is the leading U.S. state in cash farm receipts and produces more than 400 commodities, including one-third of the country’s vegetables and two-third of the nation’s fruits and nuts, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

Let’s let Gov. Brown know what we think of his decision to axe support of science-based careers in food and production agriculture. I understand when times are tough, budget cuts may be necessary, but short-changing the future leaders who will produce the food for our nation and the rest of the world seems a little short-sighted, in my opinion. What do you think?

By the way, if you're anxious to find out who made the finalist round in BEEF's "For the love of land & livestock" photo contest, we plan on making the big announcement tomorrow, so stay tuned!

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Penton Agriculture.


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