State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has announced $55,000 in state funding to establish a new joint agriculture education program for Oakfield-Alabama Central and Elba Central School districts.
The mission of the new program is to encourage more high school students to explore agriculture and consider a career in the industry.
“This important program will serve as another tool for educators to cultivate student development and success, and I am proud to have been able to jump start this new program," Ranzenhofer said. "Now, our students will have better opportunities to learn more about agriculture and be inspired to start a career in the industry."
The start-up funding will cover equipment, field trip expenses, instructional resources and materials, and instructional salaries. Enrolled students, in grades nine through 12, will experience classroom instruction, hands-on projects and opportunities to visit local businesses with a connection to the agriculture industry. The program will be administered by and located at the Oakfield-Alabama School District.
“We appreciate the support of Senator Ranzenhofer in this new program. Our students are surrounded by agriculture and now have the opportunity to learn about the careers of the industry. We hope the program will motivate some of our graduates to remain in the area as well,” said Oakfield-Alabama Superintendent Mark A. Alexander.
Agriculture and its related industries are the number one economic driver for Genesee County and New York State, and industry demand for a properly trained workforce is greater than ever. According to the Land O' Lakes Foundation, food production in the next 50 years will need to be higher than the prior 500 years.
Senator Ranzenhofer’s office received letters of support from the local agriculture industry, including: Cornell University Cooperative Extension Genesee County; Lamb Farms Inc.; CY Farms LLC; East Pembroke Grange; Wayne E. Phelps Ent. Inc.; Offhaus Farms Inc.; and Z&M Ag and Turf.
The Oakfield-Alabama Board of Education will publicly recognize Senator Ranzenhofer for his efforts to establish the new program during tonight’s board meeting.