One must guestion the rational behind closing 7 state agricultural research facilitilies at a time when we are being told by the powers that be that there is increased need for food and agricultural research. Even more questionable, is closing two facilities in the same county. The Upstead Farm Station( which is the site proposed for the National Bio Agro Defense Facility) and the Oxford Tobacco Research Station, are the only two agriculture research stations in the surrounding 7 counties. If the Reidsville station is also closed that leaves a 20 county gap without area specific research, and each station could have 40 or more research projects at any given time.
Steve Troxler, North Carolina’s Commissioner of Agriculture opposes the plan. In an email Troxler states that “It is no secret that the demands on our farmers are increasing, input costs are soaring and the worldwide demand for food is rising exponentially. This is not the time to cut back on agricultural research or to auction off investments in farms and forestland that were made by generations of North Carolina taxpayers.” I believe that all of the current stations (and all of our employees) are essential to the system, and that a well-funded, accountable system which is managed by an entity whose focus is agriculture, is essential for the future of agriculture in North Carolina,”
The plan will be formally released on May 8th, and it call for transferring ownership and management of all the stations to N.C. State.
We will provide an update as more information becomes available.
Proposal could close Seven Agriculture Research Stations
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A legislative staff report recommends closing seven state agriculture research stations in an effort to consolidate operations and save money.
The State Agriculture Department operates 18 stations but only owns 12 of them. The other six are owned by North Carolina State University.
A draft report recommends transferring ownership of all the stations to the university. Legislative staffers also suggested closing the research stations in Whiteville, Castle Hayne, Waynesville, Oxford, Butner, Laurel Springs and Reidsville.
The panel said its recommendations could total nearly $55 million in savings. The General Assembly would have to approve any changes.