Applications invited for Agropreneurs program
New farmers and ranchers are invited to apply for the Sonoma County “Agropreneurs” summer program, which includes classes, field visits and chances to connect with experts in agriculture.
The program is administered by the UC Cooperative Extension. It includes nine, eight-hour Friday classes. Participants will receive help developing business plans and assistance in finding affordable agricultural land and other opportunities.
The classes, which begin June 6, are open to those with one to 10 years experience in agriculture. The cost is $650 and includes registration at Santa Rosa Junior College, materials, some lunches and a membership with California FarmLink.
The deadline to apply is April 15. For applications, go online to http://tinyurl.com/BFR2014 or contact Linda Peterson, 565-2648.
California ranchers unprepared for drought
Across California ranchers are telling UC Davis researchers they aren’t ready for the water shortages and lack of forage that a continuing drought would bring.
More than one-third of the ranchers expect devastating impacts to their operations if drought conditions persist.
The researchers met with more than 60 ranchers as part of their survey of more than 500 statewide.
California completed its driest year on record in 2013. And rainfall totals this winter remain far below average.
“Those who have less flexibility — fewer types of forage, fewer places to go with cattle — tend to be the ones having a harder time adapting to drought,” said Ken Tate, a plant sciences professor.
Brown drops funding for ag education
State funding for agriculture education has been dropped from Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed budget, eliminating an estimated $4.1 million that goes directly to agriculture-related programs for thousands of students in California.
The Legislature still must weigh in on the proposed cuts to the Agricultural Education Incentive Grant, which provides matching funds for districts that meet state-approved ag program standards.
The program funds classroom instruction of 1,330 courses approved for admission recognition by both the University of California and California State University systems, along with supervised agricultural experience projects and leadership training.
“These programs are vital if we expect to attract bright, talented and innovative students to help meet the many challenges facing both agriculture and the state of California over the next several decades,” Jim Aschwanden, executive director of the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association, said in a statement.
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