Assemblyman Chris Tague (R,C,I-Schoharie), the ranking minority member of the Assembly Committee on Agriculture, today joined Assemblyman John Lemondes (R,C,I-Lafayette), Sen. George Borrello (SD-57), Assemblyman John Salka (R,C,I,Ref-Brookfield), Assemblyman Robert Smullen (R,C,I,SAM-Meco), President of the Onondaga County New York Farm Bureau Danielle Volles, as well as FFA members, school superintendents and local officials for a press conference at Elly’s Acres in Jamesville calling for the passage of a bill (A.9230) that would implement agricultural education into New York state’s standard K-12 curriculum.
At the press conference, Tague and others in attendance discussed how important it is for the people of New York to understand where food and other products in stores come from. As he spoke, Tague argued that fostering a greater understanding of the realities of farming and the production of food and goods among young people would help them make informed decisions on matters that will affect agriculture and the state’s supply of food.
“Farming is our state’s largest industry and one that affects everybody, yet it is also one many New Yorkers know very little about,” said Tague. “Knowing where our food comes from and the factors that affect the cost and availability of food are critical to ensuring a stable future for our farms and our food supply. I urge other policymakers to join me in fighting to establish an agricultural curriculum within our k-12 schools.”
Tague also spoke of the opportunities an agricultural education can provide to students, who otherwise may not consider a career in agriculture or agri-business. A former BOCES student, Tague shared how learning about subjects outside of usual core offerings introduced him and many of his peers to careers and coursework that they felt passionate about and driven to pursue. He expressed hope that this new bill would open similar doors to more students throughout New York state.
“More than just a way of providing perspective to our students about the realities of food production, it also offers students an opportunity to engage with subject matters that could lead them toward a fulfilling career in a field they would have never been introduced to otherwise,” said Tague.