Land Grant Colleges Crucial to Agriculture

In an era of economic austerity, farmers and farm advocacy organizations are attempting to remind Congress of the importance of land grant universities to the overall success of the farm sector.
With farmers across the country facing a growing demographic crisis, many agricultural officials are brainstorming ways to draw young people into an increasingly aging profession. While many governments have turned to low-interest loans and grants to young farmers, some officials are looking at college agricultural programs as a way to reinvigorate the agricultural sector.
In addition to luring in young workers, colleges have traditionally been major centers of agricultural research. Universities like Penn State have typically been at the forefront of farm breakthroughs (innovating pest control systems, for example).
Despite the importance of agricultural universities, land grant colleges have been their federal funding reduced in recent years. While many farm advocacy groups are focusing on crop insurance funding and other more direct farm subsidies, many groups are fighting to preserve college funding and to keep research universities open.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer