Monday, April 4, 2011

To Trim or Not to Trim

After much debate over New York’s State’s budget proposal, the governor and New York’s General Assembly restored cut programs to the budget.  Integrated Pest Management, Pro-Dairy and New York Farm Net were such programs that were saved from the chopping block.  

Dairy farms contribute 2 billion dollars in sales to the state’s economy annually.  The $822,500 budget for Pro-dairy is completely funded by the New York Department of Ag and Markets.  This investment equates to 0.041% of the annual sales stated above.  The programs offered within Pro Dairy have been beneficial to dairy producers—providing analytical personalized business management information that indicates performance level and ultimately helps dairy producers establish more productive operations, thus more sales for the state. (Sciences)

We are certainly faced with tough budget decisions—but biting the hand that feeds you is never beneficial.  Programs such as Pro-Dairy indirectly increase production through efficiency and thus decrease or at least stabilize food prices.  However, with the era of cheap food drawing to a close, it is more important than ever for dairy producers, or any food producers for that matter, to make more with less. If we are determined to cut budgets, let us remember these words—you have to invest in food to ensure there is affordable food.  Furthermore, I am sure we can all think of publicly funded programs that provide far less benefit than the ones discussed above.    
Food is something we will ALWAYS need, so funding in the Agriculture sector is ALWAYS going to be needed.  Now don’t get me wrong, there are programs that could be modified, but annual budget proceedings should not have the power to completely eradicate any program without further review.  In this case, evidence proved that such programs ARE beneficial.    

Sciences, C. o. (n.d.). Impact. Retrieved April 4 , 2011, from Cornell University :

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