College ag programs take a hit

As the nation’s higher education institutions struggle with tough budgets, agriculture programs at colleges are taking their share of the cuts.

The Associated Press has a look at what that means for students at land grant universities, and the farmers who rely on the assistance and research that comes out of agricultural programs.

Large-scale layoffs have been threatened at some agricultural colleges, and even 4-H youth programs are facing the ax because federal and state funding are on the chopping block. At a time when farmers are being asked to grow more for food and fuel to meet soaring world demand, experts warn against eroding the country’s commitment to agricultural research.

In our region, the University of Minnesota at Crookston is expected to drop its agricultural education major by the end of the 2012-13 school year.

In April, South Dakota State University cut dozens of positions and reorganized its extension service due reductions in state aid.