Salas introduces bill to save Future Farmers Education Grant

 Assembly Member Rudy Salas, who represents Lemoore and Kings County, met last week with the California Future Farmers of America (FFA) student organization leaders in Sacramento and introduced a bill to address the critical need for the Agriculture Education Incentive Grant Program to continue. Lemoore High School has one of the largest FFA chapters in California.

In addition to introducing AB 2033, Salas is launching a statewide effort to urge continued funding of $4.1 million for the Agriculture Education Incentive Grant Program. The Governor’s proposed budget removed this funding and as a result, California’s 315 agriculture programs could be terminated.

“These dynamic programs give students and teachers the technical skills needed to meet local industry demands through welding, husbandry, agri-science, mechanics, and a variety of other vocational programs,” said Salas. “In my district, we have seen the partnership between these students and local businesses produce mechanized hydraulic trailers or even trained service dogs for the blind.”

Lemoore also has a nationally recognized program that helps to train guide dogs for the blind. Students can always be seen at Lemoore High School parading the campus with a seeing-eye dog.

Salas has made it a top priority to restore the funding and has approached the issue from multiple avenues. In addition to AB 2033, Salas has written a letter to the Governor that gained bipartisan support from 85 legislators and his office has collected over 500 letters from the community.

“Agriculture programs are necessary for the success of California’s agricultural industry which generates over $43 billion in revenue and creates a strong state economy,” said Salas. “FFA provides students with the technical and leadership skills needed to move California forward.”

Working with local FFA chapters from around the state, leadership in the budget subcommittee and full committee, and the Rural Caucus, Salas is gathering support to restore the funding. He is also urging everyone to write letters to the Governor about why this program deserves funding. Letters can be either mailed or delivered to Salas’s office by March 14. Salas plans to deliver the letters together with FFA students on California Ag Day, March 19.

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