Earlier this week Louisiana State University Agricultural officials announced that they would shut down the school’s swine farm. The announcement was met by furious protest from LSU’s agricultural student body, who are worried about the future of the animal science program at the university.
School officials met with about forty students, representing the larger student body, but remained adamant that the closure will happen. “We’re losing probably $150,000 a year operating it and there’s no longer a swine industry in Louisiana,” Chancellor Bill Richardson said. In addition, he announced that there would most likely be future agricultural cutbacks as a result of decreasing state and federal funding.
Many students expressed frustration and a sense of betrayal at the announcement. LSU graduate Leanne Wood said that she came to the school because of its animal science program, a program that offered firsthand experience dealing with animals.
The budget concerns at LSU are part of a larger national pattern. In the wake of increased fiscal concern among Washington lawmakers, agricultural budgets have been repeatedly slashed by politicians hoping to balance the budget deficit. Often school agricultural funding is first on the chopping block.
The decrease in federal support has forced many schools to cut back on agricultural programs at state colleges, which could threaten the long-term health of the agricultural industry as a whole.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer