Save the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station

The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station is in danger of closing (see the story here).  Below is the letter that I sent to the powers that be.  If you are a CT resident, please take the time to send a letter, too.  Feel free to use my letter as a model if you wish.

Governer Dannel P. Malloy
State Capitol
210 Capitol Avenue
Hartford, CT  06106

May 14, 2011

Dear Governor Malloy,

I am writing to express my concern over the Plan B cut of 100% funding for the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station.  As a citizen who values farms and scientific research, I urge you to reconsider your proposed plan to close CAES.

As the oldest Agricultural Experiment Station in the country, CAES has a long list of accomplishments including identification of the potato scab pathogen in 1888, the development of double crossed hybrid corn in 1919, discovery of the first organic fungicide in 1940, development of a test for pesticide residue on produce in 1963, development of an antibody test to diagnose Lyme Disease in 1984, the first culture of the West Nile Virus in 1999, and the development of new methods to detect oil-spill contamination in seafood in 2010.  CAES scientists and technicians have repeatedly shown their commitment to helping the people of Connecticut and the world through their agricultural research.  What discoveries can the future hold? CAES scientists are currently studying ways to control bed bugs, searching for causes of honeybee mortality, and investigating new crops.  I implore you not to cut this research short.

In addition to these major scientific accomplishments, CAES helps ordinary citizens on a daily basis.  Through soil testing, insect identification, educational tours and speakers, tests for food safety, testing ticks for Lyme Disease, and collecting and testing mosquitoes for West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis, CAES gives taxpayers with a return on their investment.  CAES scientists provide research-based answers to questions from gardeners and farmers about which heirloom tomato varieties to plant or which grapes are best for local vineyards.

On a personal level, I want to be able to raise my son in a state that values our agricultural heritage.  My family’s farm, Rose Orchards in North Branford, turns 365 years old this year.  Rose Orchards is one of the oldest family farms in the country, and my family has had the opportunity to attend events and work with the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station on many occasions.  One of my fondest memories was when my family attended Plant Science Day at Lockwood Farm in Hamden to receive the Century Farm Award.  I have also found CAES to be a valuable resource throughout my career as a high school science teacher.  Scientists from CAES have graciously donated their time to come in and speak to my Botany classes at XXXXXXXX High School, and we have also used them as a resource for soil testing. 

I can understand the need to make budget cuts in this economy, but to shut down the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station is short-sighted.  You need to understand that this action will have ramifications through all areas of Connecticut’s agriculture.   

Thank you for your consideration,

Abigail Rose Walston
Nancy Wyman, Lt. Governor
Benjamin Barnes, Secretary, Office of Policy and Management
UPDATE! Good news, there has been an agreement so there’s not a need to go to “Plan B”… but there will still be some budget cuts, so it’s a good idea to write anyway and let them know you support CAES! 


Filed under Food, Local Agriculture, Sustainable Living

4 responses to “Save the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station

  1. Linda Oseychik

    So glad the State Gov’t reached an agreement!

  2. You might have mentioned – whatever the arguments about the anthropogenic part of weather change, the fact that change is here and may be accelerating — means that research, finding new answers to old and new problems, is critical.

    Gardeners and farmers generally scramble to keep up, it is the dedicated researcher that can afford to look to the future beyond the next three or six seasons.


  3. Good luck with your efforts to save CAES funding!

  4. What a brave move. It is good to know that people are concerned in saving CAES.

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