October 28, 2009 Once again our elected officials in Lansing are willing to sacrifice a vital service to area taxpayers in the name of "budget issues."
Elimination of MSU Extension office agriculture programs does not make sense in a state where agriculture is the second largest industry. The ag extension service provides information, research data and field-tested advice to farmers, both hobbyists and agribusiness. Why in the world would the governor and/or lawmakers even consider cutting the program when agriculture is a huge source of revenue for the state, bringing in some $71 billion a year and employing more than a million citizens from the field to the processing plant?
State Rep. Kevin Daley (R-Lum)—the only farmer in the legislature—says he's pushing hard to thwart the move, though he admits that fellow House Republicans think it's okay to cut the program in half, citing state's "budget issues." Again, how does it make sense to cut a program that assists a large, steady, proven revenue-producing sector of the state's economy? Republican or Democrat, would a business executive look at an income producing division of his or her company and say "oh, that's making money—let's cut it?"
"It's time for our elected officials to quit acting like politicians and start becoming statesmen," says columnist and radio commentator Jack Lessenberry, referring to the state's economy and how to fix it. We agree. Like it or not, the automotive industry is no longer a vital aspect of Michigan's economy. Agriculture is. Legislators—and Governor Granholm—should look elsewhere and leave the MSU Extension office agriculture programs intact.