Agriculture in Montana could be threatened if state legislators vote to reduce funding for Montana Agricultural Experiment Stations (MAES). Montana Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) is concerned about the recently proposed budget cuts for MAES, especially while fixed costs continue to rise. MAES provide Montana and its rural communities with the latest technological advances, economic opportunities and training for the next generation of leaders. Farmers, ranchers and agricultural industry associates all across the nation look to Montana for the research and findings that come from its seven agricultural experiment stations.
The proposed 2010-2011 biennium budget would decrease the current 2008-2009 budget by 2.4 percent. This would give the agricultural experiment stations a deficit of more than $1 million, and with rising fixed costs, the deficit is only going to get larger.
John Youngberg, vice president of governmental affairs, MFBF, said, “Agriculture is Montana’s number-one industry and the agricultural experiment stations in our state are what makes that possible. Now is not the time to limit funding on these important facets of Montana agriculture.”
The budget meeting for the Montana Agricultural Experiment Stations was held January 23, 2009 before the Joint Subcommittee on Education.