First off credit where it is due.
pdmattox sent me this story. I had no idea as to how true or false it was.
I have received confirmation this story is accurate. http://www.farmandranchnews.com/breakingnewsframe.html
The story is below.
J. Bernard Machen, President of the University of Florida (UF), reportedly made a statement last week that has sent shockwaves throughout Floridaâ€™s agricultural community. Even Charles Bronson, Floridaâ€™s Commissioner of Agriculture, is greatly concerned.
Machen is reported to have said that â€œagriculture is a dying industry in the State of Floridaâ€ and â€œnot worthy of the investments being made by the Legislatureâ€ in the Universityâ€™s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS).
Apparently those investments do not reach his goal of making UF one of the top 10 universities in the United States.
Accordingly, the $25 million (or more) in potential budget cuts he is considering for UF also contain plans to cut a disproportionate amount of funds from IFAS, with some cuts possibly being implemented as early as March of 2008!
Machen is considering cutting a number of faculty members from IFAS, consolidating their educational programs, close and/or severely cut some Extension offices (which include 4H) and make cuts within IFASâ€™ educational research centers.
How severely does he plan to cut? It has a lot to do with the reaction of the agricultural community to this issue!
Is agriculture a dying industry in Florida? â€œNo way!â€ says Commissioner of Agriculture Charles Bronson when asked that question by the Farm & Ranch News staff.
â€œFlorida agriculture had an economic value of $67 billion in 2001. Today, Florida agriculture has an economic value of $97 billion. With the â€œFarm-to-Fuelâ€ program, Florida agriculture is expected to grow into a $200 billion industry,â€ said Bronson.
IFAS impacts more than just production agriculture. In Florida today, the 4H program, through the Extension Service, had an enrollment of over 243,000 youth. County and City governments utilize IFAS and Extension for their research and assistance in many issues, including water management, recycling, food safety and disease control.
The University of Florida can become one of the nationâ€™s top 10 universities; but we need to educate President Machen, UFâ€™s Board of Trustees, and our Florida Legislature of just how important IFAS and Extension is to agriculture and the youth of our state.
If you want to know what Extension does, and if letter writing works, click on Page Three of our website www.farmandranchnews.com
. There you will see an article on how Palm Beach Extension was saved by letter writing. Next, click on Page Six and read an article by a current Extension Director who explains the scope of what Extension does.
The time for action is NOW! Donâ€™t look over your shoulder and expect someone else to make calls and send letters to key people about this issue. If everyone did this, it wonâ€™t get done! Make sure you keep your letters positive! Talk about how IFAS, Extension and/or 4H has impacted you or your family. Negative and attacking emails will hurt our efforts, so you MUST keep it specific, positive and informative. If possible, give photo examples of areas in your life that IFAS, Extension and/or 4H has benefited you and your family. Here are the contacts you need to make:
J. Bernard Machen, President
University of Florida
226 Tigert Hall
Gainesville, FL 32611
The University of Florida Board of Trustees, 226 Tigert Hall, Gainesville, FL 32611. Address it to these trustees: Carlos Alfonso, Courtney Cunningham, Roland C. Daniels, Mac McGriff, Joelen Merkel, Dianna Morgan, Ryan Moseley, Cynthia O'Connell, S. Daniel Ponce, Earl W. Powell, Steven M. Scott, Al Warrington, IV, and Richard A. Yost.
Also write your Florida House and Senate members. To find them and their addresses go to: http://www.flsenate.gov/Legislators/index.cfm?Mode=Find%20Your%20Legislators&Submenu=3&Tab=legislators&CFID=66063079&CFTOKEN=95039269
Sign up for Farm & Ranch News email alerts. Just click the email link at the top of our website or email email@example.com
to sign up. This will help keep you up to date on the latest news and actions being taken to help IFAS, Extension and 4H. We have also teamed up with Horse & Pony News to help spread the word. They are also keeping updates on their 4H dog website at http://www.fl4-h-dog.com/
Personally spread the word. Email a link to our website to anyone that might be interested in helping with this issue. Club leaders: encourage your kids to write during meetings.
By virtue of UF rules, employees of and staff members are not permitted to lobby about this issue and could lose their job if they do. Thus, it is up to us to act and act now!
We will update our website as we get more information.
End of Story.
I have sent an email to the head of the cooperative extension in Palm Beach County.
With the passing of Amendment one which will cause massive budget cuts across the board residents of Florida can expect to lose many of the items that assist us in the agricultural areas.