Threatened LSU AgCenter gets Council supportJul 26th, 2010 | By admin | Category: Top Story
The St. Bernard Council this week offered its support for the LSU AgCenter and its local 4-H program in response to sweeping budget cuts that threaten the sustainability of the program.
Local 4-H agent Wayne Burgess was on hand to explain the AgCenter’s difficult financial position.
“At the beginning of July, the president of the LSU system, Dr. Lombardi, imposed a 23 percent cut across the various colleges,” Burgess said. “What that’s going to do for us in the LSU AgCenter is it’s probably going to eliminate about 200 positions.”
More than 90 of those positions cut would probably be field personnel, Burgess said.
Burgess said he and other 4-H leaders are hoping to fill the funding gap by soliciting support from local governing bodies, the State Legislature and LSU’s Board of Regents and by better explaining just how important the AgCenter and 4-H programs are to the state.
That critical educational role is seen no better than in St. Bernard Parish.
Post Katrina, Burgess and the 4-H program have played a prominent role in leading Chalmette High School students to plant thousands of cypress seedings in St. Bernard’s delicate wetland areas.
“We probably had about 300 high school students that helped us plant seedlings,” Burgess said. “We probably planted about 5,000 seedlings, and a lot of those students had never been past Meraux.”
“It was a good opportunity to get them involved and to let them see it with their own eyes,” he said.
The council unanimously passed the resolution requesting state and federal leaders maintain the full funding of the St. Bernard Parish branch of the LSU AgCenter. A final decision on the proposed budget cuts will not be made until the end of August.
For more information about the LSU AgCenter, go online to www.lsuagcenter.com.
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