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California drivers can show their support for farmers

Honk if you love farmers.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture is trying to rally public support for special license plates that tout a driver’s support for the state’s agricultural industry and would charge a premium fee for them.

The bulk of those fees, which would be tacked onto a person’s normal vehicle registration costs, would pay for statewide education and training programs aimed at secondary school kids interested in farm careers.

The fees for plates with numbers randomly selected by the state Department of Motor Vehicles would cost $50 for the first year and $40 a year to renew. For personalized plates, consumers would pay $98 for the first year and $70 a year to renew. The plates can be used on autos, trailers or commercial vehicles, said Steve Lyle, spokesman for the agriculture department.

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“There’s been interest in doing this for many years. And we believe there is widely held support in the state for the agricultural products that are grown here,” Lyle said.

The proposed design has a white background and the word “agriculture” in small red print on the bottom. On the left side, a sun rises over a green field and the phrase “food-fiber-fuel-flora.”

The agency must get at least 7,500 pre-orders for the plates before the DMV will consider producing the plates. Since the agency announced the plates Friday, a dozen people have signed up for them.

p.j.huffstutter@latimes.com

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