These proposed cuts would mean massive job losses, weaken our food supply, damage our research and education system and keep agriculture from helping grow the U.S. economy. These cuts could eliminate close to $6 million from the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences alone. Land-grant universities across the country will face similar cuts.

The U.S. agriculture industry relies on the land-grant university system to provide research, development and training shared equally and openly among producers. Unlike other industries that employ proprietary research and development organizations, this public system of research and education was designed to give all involved in producing our nation’s food supply equal access to innovations that help feed the nation and protect the environment.

Funds lost to 4-H, research

These are funds we rely on to conduct vital research in crop development, environmentally sound practices, water protection and food safety. These funds provide needed local education to agriculture producers, nutrition information for families and 4-H programs for more than 160,000 Georgia youths.

Coupled with the 24-percent cut in state funds we have faced over the past two years and a proposed additional 4 percent state funding cut in July, this 10 percent cut in federal funds will further cripple our research and Extension programs to Georgia.

In Georgia, the agriculture sector of the economy has been a stabilizing force amid a stormy economic outlook. Exports are strong. Demand and prices are high. We must be positioned to meet the demand and capitalize on this economic opportunity.

Every federal agency should do their fair share of belt tightening to rein in the deficit. We are willing to do our fair share. But exacting 22 percent of the cuts on programs that make up just 2 percent of the federal budget is far from fair.

(J. Scott Angle is dean and director of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.))