WHEREAS, world food production must double in the next several decades to meet the needs of a growing population, and the science and technology of agriculture need to advance to produce more food on the same or smaller land mass; and
WHEREAS, the world will need greater numbers of students enrolled in, and graduating from, agriculture programs emphasizing science, business and technology at all levels of our education system to meet the ever-expanding needs of the 21st Century; and
WHEREAS, FFA, 4-H, high school curricula emphasizing agriculture’s relevance to our everyday lives, and the advanced, specialized agricultural education provided by land grant institutions such as Rutgers University, are all important components of preparing the next generation of agricultural professionals to provide the important products and services needed to meet the demands of a growing population.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that we, the delegates to the 95th State Agricultural Convention, assembled in East Brunswick, New Jersey, on February 9, 2010, do hereby support: (1) the continued interagency agreement between the New Jersey Department of Education and the New Jersey Department of Agriculture to administer all agricultural education programs in New Jersey; (2) expanding opportunities for students, including those from non-agricultural backgrounds, to participate in the “Agriculture is Cool” campaign and increasing the number of quality instructional programs, including but not limited to the establishment of new programs offering the advanced Curriculum in Agricultural Science Education (CASE), aimed at increasing high school and college graduates pursuing AFNR careers; (3) seamless transitions for agriculture students pursuing associate, baccalaureate and/or advanced degrees; (4) strengthening of the agriculture teacher preparation program at the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Science to serve more agricultural education programs; and (4) the coalition of “Team Ag Ed” to support, inform and advocate for programs, projects and initiatives to help improve the image of agriculture statewide.
The perception of the importance of agriculture and agricultural education is often limited in contrast to reality. As the industry’s needs expand to meet an increase in population, so do the number of career opportunities in the science, business and technology of agriculture.
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.
Strong impressions can be made upon students by what they are taught in school, and those impressions can lead to long-term decisions about which careers to pursue. A strong, vibrant and relevant agricultural education curriculum can help students understand and appreciate the important role agriculture plays in their lives and can play in their career choices.