Agriculture Takes Center Stage at the California State Capitol
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
By: Kelly Howenstine
On March 19, the west steps of the State Capitol in downtown Sacramento were transformed into an exciting, educational and edible agricultural experience for state lawmakers and the public. The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) hosted its annual California Ag Day, a fun-filled event aimed to honor the agricultural legacy of California and to showcase the farmers, ranchers and growers of the nation's leading agricultural state.
For 25 years, Ag Day has been a public celebration of California agriculture, inviting crowds of thousands to connect with the people, plants and animals that produce their food, fiber, flowers and fuel. More than 40 producers, agricultural associations, corporations, students and government organizations involved in agriculture hosted exhibit booths and hands-on demonstrations and provided tasty samples of California-grown commodities.
California Governor Jerry Brown and California Secretary of Food and Agriculture Karen Ross both addressed the crowd, and commended California’s agricultural community for its dedication and resilience despite the challenging drought conditions. The day was an opportunity for legislators, capitol staff and members of the public to gain an upclose and personal look at the variety and importance of California agriculture. It was also an opportunity to better understand how the state's 400+ crops and commodities support the economy, society and health of the state and nation. California's 80,500 farms and ranches received a record $44.7 billion for their output last year.
California Ag Day also helped raise awareness of proposed budget cuts to Agriculture Education programs in The Golden State. More than 1,800 National FFA members from 125 chapters across California made a powerful impact during Ag Day, gathering on the capitol steps and chanting "Save FFA." The California FFA is home to nearly 78,000 students and over 300 FFA Chapters from the Imperial Valley to the Oregon border.
California Ag Day was held one week before National Ag Day. On Tuesday, March 25, The Agricultural Council of America (ACA) held its annual National Ag Day to increase the public's awareness of agriculture's role in modern society.
Building upon this year’s theme of “Agriculture: 365 Sunrises and 7 Billion Mouths to Feed,” we asked our social media followers to share sunrise and breakfast photos to join the conversation. Mike Zwingman’s sunrise photo from his farm in Utica, NE kicked off our Ag Day conversation!
At Bayer CropScience, we’re passionate about feeding a hungry planet and maintaining the environment, in which we live, work and play. We hope you all enjoyed celebrating National Ag Day as much as we did and will join us as we support the agriculture community 365 days a year. Thanks to all of the hard-working farmers out there who are leading us into a better future!
About Kelly Howenstine