Cooperative Extension is our bridge between research and what’s practical “down on the farm.” Or in the case of the Green Industry, what works for our growing, living landscapes.
Many of us have gotten to know and rely upon the experience and advice of extension specialists. We value the helpful and impartial service they provide.
An article today on onlineathens.com (available here) warns that Georgia could be losing yet more extension personnel due to mandated budget cuts at the University of Georgia. The University is being forced to chop 4% ($16.3 million) from its fiscal 2011 budget that began this past July 1.
Agriculture dean Scott Angle is protesting the cuts to the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. He says the state’s ag research stations and the Cooperative Extension Service already have absorbed budget cuts of 20% in the last two years. The number of county extension agents in the state has dropped from 400 to 300 since 2008.
Other states, looking to save money, have been chopping away at Cooperative Extension these past several years, as well. This is not good. Extension specialists make a big difference in keeping our environment productive in terms of food and fiber, and advising our Green Industry on best practices and greener ways of providing our services.
Those of you in Georgia may want to contact the Georgia Green Industry Association (GGIA) to see what you can do to save your Cooperative Extension from shrinking anymore.
The rest of us must continue to support our extension personnel and the work they do. — Ron Hall