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, 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; and
WHEREAS, students residing in school districts without approved agriculture, food and natural resources instructional programs do not have access to career and technical programs that support pathways to college courses and careers in agriculture or the leadership and personal development provided by FFA; and
WHEREAS, students living outside of districts with approved agriculture instructional programs have barriers that inhibit enrollment that include, but are not limited to, requiring school board decisions to allow attendance at an out-of-district school, tuition, fees and transportation costs; and
WHEREAS, agriculture employment demand has been, and is predicted to be, greater than supply, as reported in a USDA employment opportunities study; and
WHEREAS, new science, business and technology jobs in agriculture emerge every day, along with opportunities created by future retirements that will impact the private and public sectors; and
WHEREAS, a quality, three-component, agricultural education program integrates classroom/lab instruction, experiential learning and leadership development (FFA); and
WHEREAS, we will need greater numbers of students enrolled in, and graduating from, Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (AFNR) programs emphasizing science, business and technology at all levels of our education system to meet the ever-expanding needs of the 21st Century.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that we, the delegates of the 96th State Agricultural Convention assembled Cherry Hill, New Jersey on February 8-9, 2011, support the following actions to support AFNR education: continued interagency agreement between New Jersey Department of Education and the New Jersey Department of Agriculture to provide leadership, resources and services to all of the 40-plus AFNR instructional programs in New Jersey; access for all students interested in agriculture, food and natural resources careers by amending New Jersey Administrative Code 6A to allow students to attend schools with a state approved, three-component program of agriculture, food and natural resources instructional programs; and the implementation of the rigorous, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)-based, Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education program in schools approved to teach agriculture, as well as in districts not currently offering agriculture, food and natural resources instruction.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that increased rigor, more programs and greater access to agriculture, food and natural resources programs at the secondary-school level will help increase the number of students we prepare for the science, business and technology of agriculture by creating seamless transitions to two- and four-year colleges and universities for students interested in agriculture, food and natural resources careers.