Wednesday, April 15, 2015

4-H members address House subcommittee on the importance of bridging rural-urban gap

A group of 4-H members from across the nation addressed the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture and Research this week on the importance of bridging the agricultural gap between rural and urban areas, especially when it comes to young people, Ann Tracy Mueller reports for Agri-Pulse. That sentiment is especially true today with the average age of farmers continuing to climb, rising from 2007 to 2012 from 57.1 years to 58.3 years.

Gabriella Germann, who lives in a primarily agricultural community in California, said "she was 'stunned' by the lack of awareness some teens had about agriculture," Mueller writes. Germann's family hosts school children on its farm, and she conducts presentations at elementary school career days. German told the committee, “Through this I have learned the importance of informing people about agriculture while they are young so as to cultivate early understanding and support, bridging the gap between consumers and producers.”

The 4-H members "also shared how agriculture education is helping to bridge the gap," Mueller writes. "Garrett Tomera is a sixth-generation rancher whose family has ranched in northern Nevada for more than 150 years. As he and his family noticed producers and consumers growing apart, they looked for ways to connect with consumers. In his community, the 'Agriculture in the Classroom' program is a tool through which producers teach students about farming."

Chairman Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) told committee members, “If we do not mend the divide between rural and urban areas and foster a widespread understanding of the food and fiber industries and the impact they have on everyday life, it is likely we may face the same challenges in enacting future farm bills. Bridging the gap between rural and urban areas is essential to the passage and implementation of future food and agricultural legislation.” (Read more)

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