Cuts threaten CT Agricultural Experiment Station

clip_image002Connecticut, like many other states, is in a serious budget crunch. One of the agencies facing closure is the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) in New Haven. In fact, CAES is one of three state agencies slated for 100% elimination should Connecticut’s ‘Plan B’ budget cuts be implemented, according to a May 13, 2011 email I received from Michael R. Short, Agricultural Research Technician in the Department of Forestry & Horticulture at CAES.

Michael’s letter and CAES Accomplishments highlight the services CAES provides to residents and businesses in CT:

  • CAES supports approximately 48,000 jobs in more than 2000 nursery, greenhouse, wood-products, and pest control businesses  valued at well above $2 billion.  Without CAES certifications of plants, cut wood, fruits to foreign countries, etc., these businesses would not be able to export their products.
  • CAES has the statutory duty for registration of honey bees, nurseries, dealers of nursery stock, and apiary and nursery plant inspection.
  • Connecticut has two destructive tree-killing beetles approaching its borders.  If either insect enters Connecticut, and CAES cannot enforce state quarantines, the federal government will impose a quarantine on the entire state which will negatively impact commerce.
  • Ending CAES mosquito/encephalitis virus, tick research, and food safety programs could put CT residents at risk.
  • The US Food and Drug Administration, FBI and Civil Support Team of the CT National Guard collaborate with CAES in counter-terrorism programs designed to detect toxic chemicals in food and other products.
  • Closing CAES means losing about $35 million in endowment funds and valuable property in Hamden and Windsor to private universities. Merging or abolishing CAES transfers endowments and property to non-state entities.
  • Closing CAES means losing several federal research grants worth more than $4 million.

What does all this mean to you, a Connecticut gardener? Here’s some of the research and information from CAES I’ve reported over the last year and a half:

CAES also:

  • develops new disease resistant fruit/vegetable cultivars.
  • manages tick populations, tests for Lyme disease, monitors mosquitoes, tests for West Nile and Eastern Equine encephalitis viruses.
  • mentors high school and college students on research.
  • diagnoses plant disease, insect damage, and conducts soil analyses.
  • develops methods to remove chemical pollutants from soil and water.
  • monitors waterways for invasive plants and develops aquatic weed control.
  • tests food and other commercial products for chemicals
  • monitors bed bug populations, invasive insect species, mold and researches control methods for each.

CAES seeks public support. To contact your Connecticut legislators go to Connecticut General Assembly, scroll down to the House and Senate links, click on Find Your Legislator. Call or send an email in support of CAES and the continuation of the valuable research and services they offer to CT residents.

Read other commentary about the valuable and unique services CAES provides at the CT NOFA blog and at CT Environmental Headlines.

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2 comments for “Cuts threaten CT Agricultural Experiment Station

  1. May 19, 2011 at 8:23 am

    Joene, This is not surprising news given the state of the financial affiars here in CT but it is disturbing. Thanks for the alert and the look at all the benefits CAES provides, I’ll send an email today.

    • joenesgarden
      May 19, 2011 at 11:28 am

      Debbie, CT residents may think the possible closure of CAES is a closed issue now that there’s a pending agreement between the governor and state employee union bargaining group. But this agreement will only hold IF all the individual employee unions within the bargaining group ratify the agreement. As I understand it, CAES remains in danger.

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