President’s Bush’s proposed budget threatens to
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Senator Specter and Casey’s DC office needs to receive letters of support by March 6th 2008 - the sooner the better.
February, 2008. The Pasture Systems and Watershed Management Research Unit at University Park, Pennsylvania, is slated to close in order to meet proposed budget reductions.
The President’s proposed fiscal year (FY) 2009 budget for ARS represents a net decrease of 7.5 percent from the current year funding. Unless Congress acts to restore the $4.42 million allocation in support of the University Park location, the entire research program will be terminated and all 45 scientist and support staff positions will be abolished.
The research program at University Park develops profitable and sustainable animal, crop, and bioenergy producing enterprises while maintaining the quality of ground and surface waters. The loss of this research unit would end cutting edge research on nutrient management, forage and grazing land management, water quality, integrated farming systems, and bioenergy cropping systems for the northeastern U.S.
Flat funding, inflationary and rising research costs, along with aging facilities have been the reasons cited for the closure of research units. The loss of this unique program will be a direct blow for organic and sustainable livestock production. The work of Kathy Soder and others have seen tremendous advances in managing pasture and evaluating its nutrient quality.
Senator Specter serves on the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee that funds USDA, and will be fighting to keep the lab open and funded through the Subcommittee. The Subcommittee will begin to work on USDA funding for FY09 in the upcoming months.
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