Commentary: Support agricultural education: Sign up for the 'Ag Plate'


Issue Date: February 8, 2012
By Amy Madison

Amy Madison

In the last decade, we've all seen special-interest California license plates that support a cause and generate revenue for particular causes or organizations, such as the whale tail for the coastal commission, firemen in action to support firefighters and images of Lake Tahoe to save Lake Tahoe. These license plates have traversed our state's major thoroughfares in attempts to increase the profiles of cherished causes. License plates, coordinated through non-profit organizations, can significantly benefit those charitable entities, showcasing public support as well as raising much-needed funds.

Now, it's agriculture's turn to own the road to showcase our bounty and support local agricultural education programs year round.

Our state's foremost industry has a one-time opportunity to join the other celebrated causes as an on-highway fundraising titan. Made possible by the efforts of California's agricultural leaders, the California Agriculture Plate's funds will provide much-needed revenue for agricultural education organizations such as the California Association of Future Farmers of America, agricultural literacy and agriculture career training efforts.

From an agricultural industry perspective, the "Ag Plate" has two benefits. First, it's a way to secure a funding source that provides long-term support to agricultural education, career training and youth leadership development whose value is immeasurable in California. Second, it provides consumer awareness and promotion of California's vital agriculture industry.

By reaching the required quota of 7,500 paid pledges, the agriculture plates will provide a visual link to farming which, in turn, will help spread consumer awareness of who brings food from the farm to the fork. For a state that dominates our nation in agricultural productivity, it seems obvious we should have a license plate celebrating our bounty.

The Department of Motor Vehicles requires 7,500 paid pledges by April 1 in order to begin creating these plates. If the deadline passes, so too does the agriculture industry's chance to join the most cherished causes of our state's citizens.

For people who appreciate quality, safe and abundant food, this opportunity must not be passed up.

For information on how to acquire a California agriculture license plate, please visit CalAgPlate.com. There is a first-time registration fee of $50, and a $40 annual renewal fee that goes directly to agricultural education programs.

Sign up for your plate today.

(Amy Madison is director of fund development for the California FFA Foundation. She may be reached at amadison@californiaffa.org.)

Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.