Proposal to slash MSU Extension & Hort Station budgets panned

The Leelanau Enterprise reports that a proposal by Gov. Granholm to combine budgets for Michigan State University Extension offices and Michigan Agricultural Experiment Stations and then cut the overall budget in half is generating protest by extension & legislative reps for Leelanau County.

“The proposal to combine MSU Extension budgets with those of the agricultual experiment stations takes us in the wrong direction,” Scripps said. “In fact, there are a couple of things in the governor’s proposed budget that may indicate a bias against rural areas.”

The governor has also proposed a cut in state aid for public schools – a measure that Scripps said will unfairly impact schools in rural areas of northern Michigan that receive the minimum “foundation grant” funding offered by the state, notably Suttons Bay and Traverse City area public schools.

Sirrine, McManus and Scripps all pointed to a recent report from the state indicating that agriculture is one of the few areas of Michigan’s economy that is remaining relatively strong despite the current nationwide economic recession. The study showed that Michigan’s “agri-food industry” grew by about 12 percent last year, and currently generates some $71.3 billion for the state’s economy.

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