Connecticut Budget & the Agricultural Experiment Station

Ever wonder how we diagnose certain plant or tree diseases, or analyze soil samples? We use the services that the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station provides.

The station provides invaluable services for countless individuals and tradespeople throughout the state. Under the proposed Plan B budget, the CAES would be entirely eliminated through lack of funding.

Read below, and then contact the Governor and let your voice be heard.

Via the Connecticut Tree Protective Association,

As many of you are probably aware, the Governor’s Plan B budget is built around some very deep cuts to state services and agencies. There are many specific details of that budget proposal that ought to get deeper scrutiny. The one detail that caught the attention of the CTPA Board is that which would eliminate the CT Agricultural Experiment Station as a state agency. Under the Plan B budget, the Experiment Station is zeroed out – it receives no money and would presumably cease to exist, with its entire staff left out of work.

It is the position of the Board that this drastic step is both unacceptable and unwarranted, and we have written a letter to the Governor (below) expressing this position. CTPA members are also encouraged to express their views on this proposal, and to send them to the Governor and legislative representatives. If members wish further information regarding this proposal or its details, please feel free to contact the CTPA office and we will send along what information we have.

This are difficult times for all. It is important that everyone, including the leaders of state government, make decisions that are wise and will stand the test of time. It is our view that closing the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station is not one of those. We are encouraging the Governor and the legislature to reconsider, should a vote to accept Plan B come to pass.

With Regards,
Chris Donnelly

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CTPA’s Letter to the Governor:

May 12, 2011

The Honorable Dannel P. Malloy
Governor, State of Connecticut
Connecticut State Capitol
210 Capitol Avenue
Hartford, CT 06106

Dear Governor Malloy:

It is with great dismay that the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Tree Protective Association has learned of your proposal to close the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. As an educational association, we are dedicated to advancing the care of trees in Connecticut. Our membership consists of over 815 practicing licensed arborists, tree care professionals, scientists, educators and others. We provide the professional services and understanding of trees that helps make the State of Connecticut a national leader with regards to the practice of tree care. It is not an exaggeration to say that, taken in aggregate, the quality of care for both the public and private trees within our state is equal to or better than that found in any other state in union. With all due recognition of DEP and the importance of that agency’s role, it is fair to say that, within state government, those who practice tree care have no greater ally than the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. Should the Station be closed, its loss would be a devastating blow to our industry.

The specifics of what the Station does for the tree care industry in the state are too numerous to detail. Even a partial list would include all of the work done by individual scientists to uncover emerging tree health problems and then to disseminate that knowledge to professionals in the field. It would also include the role that Station scientists and staff play in establishing the qualifying standards for those who would be licensed as arborists, along with the Station’s part in the testing process itself. The Station is exceptionally generous in the critical educational support it provides both to those who have their arborist license and those who seek it.

Apart from any of these individual examples, the most important point is that the Experiment Station is a key ally of the tree care professionals of the state. Doing our job properly would be hard to imagine without their support. The people at the Station understand fully what it is that we do. They are willing and more than able to provide us with the necessary tools so that, together, we can do the best we can for the trees and citizens of the State of Connecticut.

As I mentioned earlier, the loss of this Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station would be a devastating blow to the care of trees in the state. That can be said even apart from mentioning the degree of direct outreach and education the Station provides the citizens of the state, so that they have a better understanding of their trees, what these trees need and what people can do better to care for and protect these trees.

I will not attempt to speculate on the loss of value that would ensue from the closing of the Experiment Station in just this one field. The greatest losses would be those that occur over time, due to the retrenching of skill and knowledge associated with tree care professionals in the state. Ultimately, these losses would be paid for by the people who own and care for trees in Connecticut. It is they who would see how the level of skill and knowledge in the profession has changed, who would see its effects on individual trees, and who would find out what it means when the professional community is not quite as prepared as it might be when it comes to the newest insects and diseases that seem to be continuously threatening the trees in our state.

We certainly understand that the budgetary issues of Connecticut are at a dire point. However, we urge you not to make a choice that, in the long run, will likely prove to be for more costly than the short term savings gained and that, in the short term, will hit hard a dedicated professional community within the state.

Sincerely,

Chris Donnelly
President, CTPA

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