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Division of Marketing and Development
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Mayo Building, M-9
407 South Calhoun Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0800
(850) 487-8000

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Charles H. Bronson, Commissioner

Video Script

Title: Commissioner Bronson Message to Teachers (2004)

Length: 3:18

Hello, I’m Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Bronson.

One of the biggest challenges facing agriculture in our state -- and everywhere in the country -- is getting a sufficient number of young people to enter our field.

The age of the typical farmer in this country is over 50, and we’re simply not attracting enough young people to groom as their successors.

When I first took office nearly three years ago, we decided to create a program for agri-science teachers that would increase their awareness of the resources available in the Department of Agriculture and of the career opportunities that exist in the agricultural industry.

It is the best hope that I know of to recruit young people to farming, ranching and all of our related fields.

Our office contacted Florida Education Commissioner Jim Horne, and together we moved forward with this program.

Participants were nominated by their local superintendents, a screening process took place and selections were made.

The program has completed its first year, and it is already receiving national attention.

Business and the agricultural industry have embraced the program and are committed to making it successful.

And it’s critical that we develop classes that provide students with an understanding of the importance of agriculture to Florida -- both to give students a foundation of knowledge about Florida’s second-largest industry and to nurture our youth for possible careers in agriculture.

Participants in the program will receive special training during the next 12 months to further develop and refine their leadership skills so, in turn, they can prepare students to meet the challenges of the future.

Program graduates will be prepared to serve as spokespersons and representatives of the agri-science teaching profession, and will serve as role models and mentors for such teachers.

By participating in this program, teachers will be prepared to provide state-of-the art instruction.

In addition, they will be prepared to expand their curriculum to include all components of agriculture, including production, science, business, marketing, processing and governmental regulation.

They will also be exposed to the diversity of agriculture from the Panhandle to the southern tip of our state.

In the past, many of Florida’s agri-science teachers have left the classroom to work in business and industry, leaving our schools with a constant shortage of qualified teachers.

This program is designed as a retention program for our teachers.

Our first graduates completed this program with renewed enthusiasm to return to the classroom.

One teacher was quoted as saying: “We, as agri-science teachers, many times feel we are on our own in our mission to educate and excite students’ minds to the important field we are in, but I now feel much more support than ever.”

We hope the program will continue to serve as a catalyst to encourage teachers to continue in the classroom.

The program has been beneficial to the agri-science teachers in this state, and we’re excited that funding has been made available to continue this program in the future.

Thank you.

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