Program: Agricultural experiment station

Appropriation:

All From GF/GP:

$33,163,800

Total:

$33,163,800

Program Description:

This appropriation funds the Agricultural Experiment Station (AES). AES, based at Michigan State University (MSU), conducts research on topics relating to Michigan agriculture. Past projects conducted by the station include the Status and Potential of Michigan Agriculture Project (SAPMA), which assessed the status of 22 Michigan agricultural commodities and developed estimates for potential growth; and the Status and Potential of Michigan Natural Resources Project (SAPMINR), which looked at Michigan’s natural resources, identifying trends and future opportunities. In addition to the MSU office, AES has 15 branch offices throughout the state. To the degree that its work addresses problems associated with true public goods, such as protection from Ash Borer disease, the state should provide resources in the form of grants through its Agriculture department, which already maintains a line item for fighting it. Of the figure above $2,950,000 is spent on "Project GREEEN," which is a research project designed to improve the state’s agricultural industry. One high-profile project tackled by Project Green and publicized in 2001 had Michigan State University researchers working to grow "the perfect Pointsettia." According to Project Green, in 2001 Michigan ranked 6th for Pointsettia production.

Recommended Action:

As with other industries, from automobiles to furniture to chemicals, the Michigan agriculture industry should be responsible for conducting its own research. Michigan farmers, their trade associations, and the Michigan agriculture industry at large — not the state of Michigan and its taxpayers — should determine what research is needed and provide for its funding. This program should be eliminated. Savings: $33,163,800. Governor Granholm’s 2005 proposal decreases the gross appropriation to $32,168,900.

Program: Cooperative extension service

Appropriation:

All from GF/GP:

$26,604,300

Total:

$26,604,300

Program Description:

This appropriation funds the cooperative extension service. This program conducts a variety of educational programs throughout the state for non-student residents. Examples of courses offered include handicapped horseback riding, sewing, pottery, etc.

Recommended Action:

The cooperative extension service program (co-op) could be handled effectively by the private sector. Indeed, there are a number of private schools and other organizations throughout the state that already offer co-op style classes to people of all ages. The state should discontinue this program. Savings: $26,604,300. Governor Granholm’s 2005 proposal increases the gross appropriation to $27,746,200.