Saturday, 09 December 2023

State Board of Food and Ag to discuss ag education with focus on diversity, education

The California State Board of Food and Agriculture will lead a virtual discussion with academic leaders at the state and national level, nonprofit organizations, and education programs on opportunities for career training and advancement in the agricultural sector, focusing on the need to promote inclusion and diversity within education programs.

The meeting will be held Tuesday, Nov. 3, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. via GoToWebinar.

The meeting link is here; the webinar ID is 956-464-427

Earlier this year, the California Department of Food and Agriculture released the Farmer Equity Report which identified four key challenges facing socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers in California.

CDFA is committed to furthering equity and inclusion within California agriculture and addressing the challenges outlined in the report, among them “Access to Available Resources and Programs.”

The State Board of Food and Agriculture is focusing Tuesday’s discussion on strategies to bolster agricultural education program outreach, engagement and communication with socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.

“Creating career opportunities in farming and ranching for our diverse communities is essential to strengthen the resiliency of our state’s agriculture industry and move us closer to a California for All,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “On-farm innovation and advances in agricultural technology, biosciences and natural resource management are creating new jobs that are redefining agriculture. Successful implementation will depend upon continual skills development for employees and on agtech training and educational career pathways that attract the best and the brightest for a diverse, inclusive workforce.”

Invited speakers include Dr. Quentin Tyler, Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS); Gissel Neri Corcoles, MANRRS (CalPoly); Thea Rittenhouse, CDFA Farm Equity Advisor; Lisa Benson, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) Foundation; Lynn Schmitt-McQuitty, 4-H; and Matt Patton, California FFA Association. Other invited speakers include representatives from the Center of Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems (UC Santa Cruz) and the Cultivating Change Foundation.

“We have great agricultural programs in this state, but we are seeing a divide not only in the job skill gap, but also in a lack of diversity and inclusion for individuals interested in the agricultural field,” said Don Cameron, President of the California State Board of Food and Agriculture. “California is committed to helping the farming community address these divides and meet the challenge of fulfilling new employment needs that focus on agricultural technology, biosciences and other emerging fields.”

The California State Board of Food and Agriculture advises the Governor and CDFA Secretary on agricultural issues and consumer needs. The Board conducts forums that bring together local, state and federal government officials; agricultural representatives; and citizens to discuss current issues and concerns to California agriculture.

Follow the board on twitter at

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