We are now a digital urban society and the extension program is an institution of a bygone rural society. Its roots are in rural dirt.The clay pot culture that I see proselytized daily by the USDA and Extension Program is anachronistic to the needs of people living in the city.
A significant exception is the Cook County (Chicago) program. Illinois would be wise to allocate more of its funds to Cook County and further support the fine work of Ron Wolford and his group of Master Gardeners.What they are doing at the Museum of Science and Industry Smart Home should be implemented as a generic extension program project all across the country. The extension program would then be justifying its existence by improving nutrition, reducing obesity, helping the environment and advancing science education with modern methods of urban greenscaping and agriculture.
Add the University of Illinois Extension to the list of entities that hasn’t been able to collect what is owed by the state. Extension spokesman Gary Beaumont said Friday the office is looking into the possibility of eliminating or combining offices. “We’re trying to be responsible and realistic in our budget planning,” Beaumont said. “We’re trying to float a couple of ideas that our constituents can respond to.” The agency is scheduling several public forums around the state to discuss the funding shortfall. One of those is set for 6 p.m. March 9 at the Extension Building at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. John Fulton, director of the Logan County Extension Unit, said Illinois owes about $10 million to Extension. “We’re in an information- and opinion-gathering stage,” Fulton said. “After March 12, we’ll be looking at putting together a plan in fairly short order. We’ll start implementing it in July and be done in August.
I know these programs offer some cooking classes, but doesn't the schools. How much do we want to pay to offer some classes in the summer and coordinate 4H? If the local people want these programs, raise the entrance fees, just don't expect the state to fund it because of the Farm Bureau and its lobby.
No More Freebies
With the Extnension servcie was created, 90 years ago, people didn't have computers. Now most people have comouters or have access to compouters. Maybe it is time to scale back the tremendoys overhead and administrative expenses, cut staff and move into the 21st century. I am sure that the Extension services is like every other state agency.. There are too many duplication of services and too many people sitting around not working as efficiently as they could. Cut the budget 20% and get rid of the deadwood.
I see it's time for the semi-annual Extension budget discussion. With a deficit as high as the State of Illinois has, saving this $65 million should be a mandate. Many comments here over the past years have asked for and made suggestions about cuts in the State's budget but somehow only bits and pieces go away instead of whole agencies and/or programs. The various turfs are to deep and the decision-makers-legislators too indebted to make the tough decisions. In my opinion, removing the Extension service is a no-brainer.
The problem is that 11 people are doing the job that 2 can do in a building that is 60% too large and expensive to operate..I would bet 99 % of the youth today have access to computers..If I want to know what the yellow spot on my tomato vine is, I google it in..If I want to learn to cook, I tell my mom I want to learn to cook and I bet she is more than willing to help me learn. If I have a pretty cow, then I have a pretty cow. I don't need a ribbon..It would be interesting to know how many of the youth in Illinois take advantage of all this and how many of those have parents that could do just as good of a job teaching it to their kids..We need to get Government out of our lives and give those responsibilities back to the parents..Not only would crime decrease but we would have a better relationship in our familys..Getting rid of the Extension program is a starter..There is probably a couple of dozen like it that need to be eliminated.