Tuesday, August 16, 2016 02:12 PM
CHAMPAIGN - State Senator Scott Bennett, the new Vice-Chairman of the Senate’s Committee on Agriculture, is excited to announce that Illinois has a new measure to prioritize agriculture education in schools across the state.
Bennett’s legislation that will create a grant to fund up to 50 percent of the personnel costs for agriculture education teachers, Senate Bill 2975, was signed into law today.
“Agriculture is the backbone of our state’s economy,” Bennett said. “We need to do whatever we can to train our future farmers and prioritize agriculture curriculum in schools across our communities.”
Under Senate Bill 2975, if a school district creates a new agriculture education program they could receive a grant to fund 100 percent of personnel costs in their first two years and 80 percent in the third and fourth years.
“Education is essential,” Bennett said. “When students are exploring different career paths, they need to know agricultural sciences is a possibility.”
This law will also add agriculture education as an area of identified staff shortage which would make scholarship money available for those who want to go into agriculture education.
Currently, only 61 percent of agriculture jobs will be filled with qualified graduates in the coming years, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“Let’s work together to train our future farmers,” Bennett said. “Programs like this are essential to keeping Illinois’ agribusiness growing.”
Sen. Scott Bennett
52nd Senate District
Years served: 2015 - Present
Committee assignments: Agriculture; Appropriations II; Criminal Law; Gaming; Higher Education; Labor.
Biography: Bennett grew up in Gibson City, where four generations of his family worked on their family farm. He moved to Champaign-Urbana to attend law school at the University of Illinois after graduating from Illinois State University.