September 26, 2023

A central New York Assemblyman is trying to drum up support for a bill he says will teach students important information about their food and clothing.

Assemblyman John Lemondes (R-126th District) owns Elly’s Acres Farm in Jamesville. The farm is named after his daughter, and he said he’s seen the positive effect agriculture has had on his children.

“There couldn’t be a better environment for them because it teaches all kinds of things, most importantly problem solving skills,” Lemondes said. “My kids solve more problems in a given day here than a lot of adults will in a week.”

Soon, he hopes all New York state students will be able to learn about his industry during their time in school. Assembly Bill 4161 would require school districts to provide agriculture education three times: in elementary school, middle school, and high school.

“We need to stop depriving our children of this important aspect of their education,” he said. “If agriculture is our state’s leading industry, then we should make sure people know that.”

Cato-Meridian Central School District Superintendent Terry Ward said his district started offering agriculture education three years ago.

“It’s very important for kids to understand where their food is coming from, where their clothes, where the materials from their clothes are coming from,” said Ward. “For us, we just thought, ‘Yes, we need to do this. We need to make that choice.’”

Lemondes introduced an agriculture education bill last session, and it never made it out of committee. He plans to re-introduce his bill in the next legislative session.

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