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To meet the proposed budget cuts proposed by the Governor, the University of Nebraska is eliminating Haskell Agricultural Laboratory (HAL) near Concord. I retired in January after 34 years as the soil scientist at HAL. If there was no HAL as a base, there would have been less research in the counties that serve this newspaper, and our recommendations would not be as relevant. For example, we partnered with the Nebraska Soybean Board to have summer field days in Holt and Antelope County, partnered with the NRDs to conduct nitrogen management demonstrations and research in your area over many years. The need for locally conducted research holds true for the other disciplines represented at HAL: weed science, entomology, and irrigation science. Before the powers in Lincoln decided not to refill positions at HAL, we have made contributions to the beef and swine industry.
Why is this happening? The budget cuts being imposed by the legislature are an excuse to eliminate HAL. The administrative leadership in Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources has not supported HAL for many years. Over the past decades, HAL has lost positions in Youth, Nutrition, Biosystems Engineering, Swine Management, Dairy Science, Beef Science, and Agricultural Economics. These losses are mainly due to a combination of how departments compete for positions and administrative neglect.
Why should you be concerned? The northeast district has a different growing season, soils, and topography than the rest of the state. Our district makes major contributions to the state’s economy. Our district has 32% of the farms, 35% of the market value of ag production, 41% of the livestock sales, and 29% of the corn acreage (2012 Ag statistics). Our center owns 320 acres, and we rent 160 acres. Compare this land resource to the 9,500 acres near Mead, the 4,100 acres in the Panhandle REC, and 2,000 acres at the WCREC near North Platte.
Who would gain? When they close HAL and sell the land, the proceeds will go to Yale University. If you care about northeast Nebraska, then let your State Senator, the Governor, our Regent, and the university administration know how you feel.
Society of Agronomy
University of Nebraska
Reminder: Letters To The Editor are not the opinion of Pitzer Digital, Antelope County News, The Orchard News or its staff.
Letters To The Editor are not the opinion of Pitzer Digital LLC, Antelope County News, The Orchard News or its staff.