Ga. Board of Regents approves budget cuts to farming programs

    The Georgia Station, located on the University of Georgia's Griffin Campus, is one three farming research centers in the state set to trim spending due to state budget cuts. Photo courtesy University of Georgia.

    Georgia university programs were trimmed by about $27 million over the next two years after the state Board of Regents voted to approve the staff’s recommendations.

    The regents’ vote, which happened with no public discussion Tuesday, cuts funding for several agricultural, medical and library programs. The state board oversees the university system’s 26 schools.

    The reductions align with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s call last month to shave 4% this year from the university system’s roughly $2.6 billion budget and 6% from next year’s budget. The $27 million combined reductions target auxiliary programs like the University of Georgia’s cooperative extension service, experimental agricultural facilities in Athens, Griffin and Tifton, and state funding for Georgia Public Library services.

    Agricultural program are particularly popular in rural parts of the state and will make do with about $9 million less over the next two years. Funding reductions for cooperative extensions and experimental stations drew worry from state lawmakers serving on the House Rural Development Council, who called for more discussion on the budget tightening. Council co-chairs and state representatives Sam Watson, a Moultrie Republican, and Rick Jasperse, a Jasper Republican, on Monday both framed the agricultural programs as too valuable to rush to the chopping block.

    Beau Evans
    Beau Evans has covered local and state government and breaking news in New Orleans and California. He’s reported on immigration issues, the threat of rising seas to coastal areas, public safety and hurricanes. At The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, Evans detailed the critical role government plays to ensure that people in a community have access to clean water and other public needs. In 2018, his investigative reporting revealed top officials at New Orleans’ cash-poor water utility dealt themselves huge raises, prompting several to resign. Evans’ prior reporting was in West Marin north of San Francisco for The Point Reyes Light. Evans is an Atlanta native who graduated with honors from The Lovett School and is an honors graduate of North Carolina’s Davidson College.

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