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Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources (AFNR) Education
WHEREAS, the perception of the importance of agriculture and agricultural education is often limited and in contrast to reality; and 

WHEREAS, as industry needs expand to meet an increase in population, so do the number of career opportunities in the science, business and technology of agriculture; and 

WHEREAS, the recent proposal to eliminate the New Jersey Department of Agriculture reminded many in the agriculture community that we need to increase our marketing efforts regarding the complete industry of agriculture to the citizens of New Jersey; and

WHEREAS, steps must be taken to insure that all residents of New Jersey have a better understanding of  the “scope of agriculture” and a better appreciation of the contributions that a strong agriculture industry makes to the quality of life for all residents.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that we, the delegates to the 94th State Agricultural Convention, assembled in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, on February 11, 2009, support the development of a coalition of New Jersey agricultural organizations which would have as a primary focus the support of agricultural education, thus increasing the number of quality instructional programs and therefore increasing the number of qualified graduates to pursue agriculture, food and natural resources careers as defined by the Agriculture Career Cluster Model.  The coalition would function as “Team Ag Ed” and would support programs, projects, and initiatives which will improve the image of agriculture statewide, inform the public about the benefits of a strong agricultural community, and encourage young people to consider the rewards of pursuing a career in the science, business and/or technology of agriculture.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we recommend the continuation of ongoing interagency agreements between New Jersey Department of Agriculture and New Jersey Department of Education to administer the AFNR Education program and FFA educational organization.  The need is greater than ever to continue organizational growth, program development and improvement grants to state-approved agricultural education programs which will strengthen, improve and update curriculum, provide professional development of teachers and improve facilities in schools that prepare students for the agriculture, food and natural resources industry.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we support all efforts to strengthen the connections between high school and college/university agriculture programs, thus creating a seamless transition between New Jersey high schools, county colleges and four-year colleges, as an effort to prepare people to meet the diverse and expanding employment demands of the science, business and technology of agriculture.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we support the development of agriculture teacher preparation programs at our land grant college to meet the quality agriculture teacher demand of our state, region and nation.