Funding Extension vital to research success

Reduction of funding for agricultural research and extension programs may give the appearance of saving taxpayer dollars, but the reduction in resources often means that sudden agricultural crises cost more. For instance, the entrance of soybean rust could have cost soybean growers millions of dollars in losses or wasted usage of fungicides had it not been for a quick, targeted outreach effort by extension plant pathologists. Apple growers in Kentucky would have faced possibly huge losses to codling moth because of OP insecticide cancellations if University of Kentucky extension specialists had not demonstrated a new IPM management program that is now increasing yields beyond those growers saw when they relied on the former insecticide. Yet those university extension resources are currently threatened with increasing federal and state funding cuts, according to a letter to the editor of Phytopathology journal.

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