Ag Is On State Chopping Blocks

Nor' east Thinkin'

Since when is union power more important than education and agriculture?

Published on: February 28, 2011

On television news, you're still seeing the seething anger and indignation of Mid West teachers about losing some of their union's bargaining tools. Yet, ag research, development and educational programs in many states are being gutted with little public outcry.

Many states are being forced to cut programs and services, in part, because federal programs are become the state's "step child" to administer and take care of. This is how Uncle Sam handles many federally-unfunded mandates.

Trouble is, it directly impacts what states can do on their own. That's why all except for a few are up to their nostrils in budgetary red ink.

Take New York, for example

The New York Farm Viability Institute has served as an on-farm research and development funding vehicle for the Empire State's most important ag commodities. You've read about NYFVI's tremendous results every month in American Agriculturist for years. Now, NYFVI won't know if it'll continue in some form until the last days of March. This is the farmer-led program that oversees FarmNet, Center for Dairy Excellence, plus fruit, vegetable, grain crop and biomass research efforts.

The state's integrated pest management program is already disappearing. The Pro-Dairy program may be headed for the slaughter house.

A host of ag research and promotion programs are crossed out of Governor Cuomo's proposed budget. Now the apple, maple, wine and grape industries plus the Geneva Experiment Station – and many others – may be forced to complete for a measly $1.2 million "pot".

So where's the urban news media on this one? Where's the public outcry? Maybe, just maybe, it may be because agriculture isn't a unified, aggressive, tactical fighter.

Don't those Wisconsin teachers have jobs they're being paid to do – handsomely, I must add? Where in the news are the reports of the seething indignation of the taxpayers footing the bill while the teachers play hookie?

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