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Lawmaker Calls for Hearing Over Cuts in Ag Ed at Local Schools
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 05/06/2011

A state lawmaker is calling for immediate action to help save local agriculture education programs from being cut at area high schools throughout Wisconsin. On Thursday, Rep. Mark Radcliffe wrote to Assembly Ag Committee Chairman Lee Nerison to request an informational hearing on the cuts many school districts are making to ag and FFA programs.

"For many rural communities, agriculture is not only a source of pride, but is the backbone of the economy," Radcliffe said. "Trimming or eliminating agricultural education in our schools is not only cutting an investment in Wisconsin's future, but is detrimental to our way of life. Unfortunately, the proposed state budget has forced schools into making cuts that will only hurt our state's future, but we still have time to stop this if we work together."

The Black River Falls Democrat said it is imperative that leaders in agriculture and education are brought together to raise awareness about the issue. He says the goal of his proposed hearing would be to see if the proposed cuts and reductions in ag classes would lead to a substantial problem in the future.

"By discussing and evaluating the testimony from the key players we will be able to better know the hand we've been dealt into the years ahead," he noted.

According to Wisconsin FFA Foundation Director Nicole Nelson, about 35 of the state's 250 agricultural education programs in Wisconsin are either facing cut-backs or total elimination. She says her group is working with Rep. Radcliffe's office to initiate action on the matter. Nelson also mentioned that FFA programs cannot exist without an ag program at the school, as the two are intertwined into the same curriculum.

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