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News Release

California Department of Food and Agriculture

Media Contacts: Steve Lyle, Office of Public Affairs, (916) 654-0462,,

California Department of Food and Agriculture
Release #06-054
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Board seeking to build strong bonds between agriculture and vocational education officials

SACRAMENTO – A.G. Kawamura, Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), has announced that the next meeting of the California State Board of Food and Agriculture will be held at Modesto Junior College’s West Campus, at Mary Stuart Rogers Student Learning Center, 2201 Blue Gum Ave., Modesto, on September 27, 2006, starting at 9:00 a.m. This meeting represents the initial effort to bring together members of the state’s food and agricultural board with members of the Board of Governors of California Community Colleges.

California sets the standard in fruit, nut and vegetable production and plays a leading role in the farm-to-fork continuum. Likewise, the state’s community college system issues roughly 20,000 degrees and certificates each year in agriculture and related fields.

“A strong connection between career technical education and agriculture is vital to satisfy future workforce needs,” said Secretary Kawamura. “This is especially true because innovation and technology are at the core of agriculture today.”

Community colleges project a major shortage of graduates with agricultural training over the next decade. This inability to fill vacant positions will impact California agriculture’s capacity to remain competitive in the global marketplace.

Three panels of speakers will address this issue from different perspectives. Schwarzenegger administration officials from the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research; the Office of the Secretary for Education; the Labor Agency; and the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency are scheduled to discuss the governor’s commitment to career technical education and workforce readiness. California community college officials will talk about the systemwide strategic plan and how it ties in with virtual enterprise learning opportunities. And, industry leaders who are graduates of Modesto Junior College agricultural programs will speak to specific career paths within agriculture.

The State Board of Food and Agriculture advises the governor and the Secretary of Food and Agriculture on agricultural issues and consumer needs. The board has forums that bring together local, state, and federal government officials, agricultural representatives, and citizens to discuss current issues of concern to California agriculture.

All California State Board of Food and Agriculture meetings are open to the media and general public. For more information on the state board or CDFA, please contact the department's public affairs office at (916) 654-0462 or Helen Lopez, Executive Director of the State Board of Food and Agriculture at (916) 657-3231.

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