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Doyle Signs Ag Education & Workforce Development Council Bill
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 04/08/2008

A program that attempts to address the projected shortfalls the workforce needs to fuel Wisconsin agriculture has now become law. On Monday, Governor Jim Doyle signed the Agricultural Education and Workforce Development Council bill. The measure was co-authored by Representative Al Ott of Forest Junction and Senator Kathleen Vinehout from Alma as an attempt to promote agricultural education and address the needs of the industry.

"I am grateful for the Governor's support of this important piece of legislation," Ott said. "The Agricultural Education and Workforce Development Council will be a valuable resource for identifying and addressing agriculture's education and employment needs."

Specifically, the bill creates a private-public partnership to be known as the Agricultural Education and Workforce Development Council within the Department of Agriculture. The Council will be comprised of industry representatives, education leaders, agency heads and legislators. The functions of the group will be funded by privately raised contributions.

Wisconsin agriculture provides nearly 420,000 jobs, employing 12 percent of the state's workforce. These jobs are diverse, such as farm owners, veterinarians, geneticists, crop and livestock consultants, engineers, feed and fuel suppliers, biochemists, food processors, economists, nutritionists and agricultural lenders. Every new job in agriculture generates an additional 1.3 jobs in Wisconsin.

"Through the efforts of many we have created a Council that will work diligently to bring people to the growing job opportunities in agriculture," added Vinehout.

The goal of the Council is to provide long term advocacy and coordination for agricultural education initiatives that improve the employment opportunities for, and retention of, a well-qualified workforce prepared to meet the changing needs of Wisconsin agriculture.

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