Around the country, agricultural research and support has really suffered as states budgets are being aggressively cut. Defunding agricultural research extensions and education programs will help balance budgets now, but add to our nation’s growing problem of being unable to produce enough food to feed our population. The National Institute for Food and Agriculture took a 9% cut this year and a 2012 funding bill that passed House this month cuts $35 million in extension funds from the current level of $294 million (keep in mind that the United State’s defense budget is $700 billion).
Here in Connecticut, Governor Malloy’s budget “Plan B” will completely eliminate the CT Agricultural Experiment Station. The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) was the first in the nation, founded in 1875. The research station has been an invaluable resource making scientific advances to improve farming and food safety. CAES has done research on new fruit and vegetable crops, integrated pest management, plant disease, invasive species, improvement of soil and water quality. To learn more about CAES here is an explanation of its history and accomplishments: http://www.ct.gov/caes/lib/caes/documents/publications/caes_accomplishments_2011.pdf
Plan B was put out by the governor’s office about a month ago as the budget alternative if state employee unions did not agree to pension, and health care concessions. At that time, the list of layoffs included the complete elimination of CAES, with 100% of the employees laid off. Although a majority of the state employee union members voted for the concessions, it was not the overwhelming majority required to put the concessions in place. If you would like to speak up in favor of keeping the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in operation, please do so before Thursday.
The Office of the Governor can be reached at (860) 566-4840 or (800) 406-1527. Send him an e-mail at this link: http://www.ct.gov/malloy/cwp/view.asp?a=3998&q=479082
Contact your state senator or legislator or find out who they are at the following state government site: http://www.cga.ct.gov/