Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Georgia Peanut Tour

The hot topics session has begun and the first speaker is Scott Angle, the Dean of the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at the University of Georgia.

His message is not one which is pleasant. Discussion of selling research farms, reduction in the local Cooperative Extension Staff, all of the changes will be noticeable. The budget has dictated these changes and we will likely not again see those programs restored. They have to deal with record enrollment and maintaining the teaching programs.

Georgia Agriculture actually needs trained employees.

Another factor in academia is that we cannot be everything to everyone anymore. This is going to be across the nation and not just in Georgia. There will have to be cooperation with the other Land Grant Universities to maximize resources.

Use of technology will have to be used more.

The UGA College of Ag budget has been cut 25% but other Universities have taken even deeper cuts.

The mission remains the same but the delivery may be quite different.

Another change which will have a profound impact on the peanut industry is the hiring of, with the help of the University of Georgia Research Foundation, a legume geneticist who will assist in genetic mapping, marker assisted selection to assist our breeding programs.

Georgia may become the leadeer in this area and has a great program for public breeding and the inclusion of this position will serve to super charge this effort.

UGA will be in the peanut breeding program for the long term.

The economy is currently having a negative impact at the federal level but the State budget seems to be improving a bit.

Earmarks are necessary for ag research when there is noone else will fund the research. These are the core programs on which everything else is developed. Many of the earmarks go toward research which developes sustainable methods of producing. Companies don't always want to fund research which will reduce their business. Peanut farmers have benefitted from earmarks and therefore the peanut industry has benefitted through a continued stable supply.

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