Feeding America, one College at a Time
By T.J. Cox
California is more than just salty beaches and orange sunsets; in fact California is a food-producing machine that feeds all of America.
California leads all of the other states in farm income, and this solidifies the golden state as the agriculture powerhouse of the United States.
In California, 73 percent of the states agriculture revenues are derived from crops, while the other 27 percent comes from livestock commodities.
According to Netstate, The top five agriculture products in terms of revenue are dairy, greenhouse and nursery products, grapes, almonds and cattle and calves.
According to The Northern California Water Association, California’s agriculture contributed $47.1 billion to the state’s economy in 2015. This was $19 billion more than agriculture production from the second largest state (Iowa) and more than twice the amount of the state with the third greatest production (Texas).
Central Valley NMTC understands the importance of agriculture in California, which is why they helped invest in West Hill’s Community College Farm of the Future in Coalinga, CA.
Farm of the Future is an innovative facility and farm sitting on 213 acres, which helps expand agriculture and industrial science programs, and increase internships and employment opportunities for students.
“Jobs in agriculture require the best of the best, ” said T.J. Cox, founder of Central Valley NMTC. “To be able to help give students a facility to learn more of what they love and potentially score that high paying job after graduation makes this project that much better. ”
The vision of Farm of the Future is to create a national model of agriculture education, specializing in integrated food, fiber, and environmental systems from production to consumption emphasizing sustainable agriculture in partnership with resources in the San Joaquin Valley and the world.
Because of Central Valley NMTC’s $9.5 million investment, 126 construction jobs and 8 permanent jobs averaging over $58.85/hr in wages and salaries, plus health insurance, retirement benefits and educational assistance.
Not only were new jobs created in an economy that has an 11.3 percent unemployment rate and 18.1 percent poverty rate, but this innovative program will deliver fresh food baskets from Farm of the Future to families at West Hills Community College District’s operated preschools.
These classes are sure to teach students valuable life lessons they will keep with them for years to come.