Shut Off the Lights When you Leave
“I am not optimistic,” said Gray. “I don’t see things turning around, unless we come up with new, imaginative ways to fund those kinds of positions. Perhaps we will have to look at the private sector for endowed positions and funding streams to support them.”
Ironically, the cutbacks are having one positive effect. Extension specialists are collaborating as never before. A recent alert from Gray to Illinois growers cited work by an entomologist at Michigan State and a research team at Iowa State.
“Sharing information with other universities is essential to the Extension research mission,” said Gray. “We also lean on non-Extension funded faculty to help shoulder the burden.”
Talking to growers and other Extension clientele around the state, Gray gets the impression people don’t realize the extent of the cuts. He fears that people won’t realize the value of Extension based, non-commercial research until it is too late.
“I think it will be a real shame to lose what has been an incredible and unique American strength and source of unbiased information,” said Gray. “Once this infrastructure is gone, I am convinced it will be nearly impossible to rebuild. I think we need to pause and reflect on how we can sustain what has been an incredible success so far.”