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WYOMING SESSION TOUTS VALUE OF FARMING

The importance of agriculture to Wyoming County's economy attracted community leaders and students to a breakfast and round table last week.

The Friday event was sponsored by the Wyoming County Business Education Council and the Agriculture Committee of the Wyoming County Board of Supervisors. It was held in Howlers Lumberyard restaurant on South Federal Street.

Sharon Grugel, executive director of the Wyoming County Business Education Council, said many careers have links to agriculture, ranging from accounting to warehouse managers.

"Fewer and fewer people are going to agriculture," Grugel said.

She said careers in the agriculture industry need to be promoted as worthwhile ventures. Grugel said teachers need help from the community to get the message out about the importance of the agriculture industry in Wyoming County.

"We keep branding agriculture careers as agriculture careers," Grugel said. "We have to stop doing that."

Students from two Wyoming County school districts made presentations about the districts' respective agriculture programs.

Doug Berwanger, chairman of the Board of Supervisors, said the county is putting together its proposed budget for 2005. He said that of the expected $10 million tax levy, an estimated $7.8 million would go to the Department of Social Services. An estimated $4.9 million would go to the Sheriff's Department and the jail.

Some farmers Friday suggested setting aside funds for county roads instead of other departments. They also said price floors are needed so small farms can stay in business.

County officials said that it costs $250,000 to $300,000 to renovate a mile of road.

"We'll coexist if there is a floor under the milk price," said Bob Taylor, a Covington farmer. "We need a basic floor for all of us."

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