Starting in March, a commemorative "California Agriculture" license plate will begin appearing on California roads. The plate, featuring a yellow sunburst rising over a pastoral green field of row crops with the words "Food, fiber, fuel, flora," is California's first new specialty license plate in 11 years.
Proceeds from the new plate will go to the National FFA (formerly the Future Farmers of America), 4H and other agricultural education programs.
According to a report in the Mercury News, changes in state law over the past decade have made it difficult to qualify new specialty plates. One provision requires that 7,500 people pre-order a new plate before it's approved. Another rule requested by the California Highway Patrol requires smaller logos that won't obscure license plate numbers — which many Californians say have made the specialty plates less attractive.
But the farm plate succeeded. About 8,300 people, in a campaign organized by the FFA and the California Agricultural Teachers Association, signed up for the plates, which cost $50 and $40 a year to renew. Many of the 67,000 high school students in 310 state FFA chapters sold plates in a grass-roots campaign, according to the Mercury News.
"We need new farmers in California because the average age of a farmer in our state is nearing 60, but the need to fill other jobs connected to farming is profound," said Steve Lyle, a spokesman for the California Department of Food and Agriculture, in the Mercury News article. "We want young people to have all the educational opportunities they can."
Read the full article in the Mercury News here.
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