Agriculture, a leading industry in the state, is the foundation upon which hundreds of thousands of jobs are based. Agriculture related employment is found not only in the production of crops and other basic foods, but also in the processing, distribution and sale thereof. Rapid changes taking place in the food and agriculture industry require new approaches in the research, development, production, processing and distribution of agricultural products which capitalize on the state’s unique resources and strategic location near significant markets. Failure to keep pace with such changes would be detrimental to this major state industry and to the supply of quality food for the public. It is essential that those engaged in agriculture and related businesses be offered encouragement and incentives to keep pace with the rapid changes. It is the intent of the legislature to provide matching grants for projects that will promote such strategic business undertakings as are necessary to assure the continued prominence of agriculture as a leading industry in the state and of the state as a supplier of quality foods.