Extension Service cuts will hurt
The pending upheaval and restructuring in the University of Wisconsin Extension Service is disturbing in several ways.
First, it's another illustration of the anti-education mindset of the currently elected state government officials. This situation was created by their cutting of the Extension Service's annual appropriation by about $3.6 million annually.
Within the Extension Service, there is certainly anxiety among the current state and county level employees regarding which positions are going to be eliminated or revised. It's likely that the most recent hires will be the most vulnerable — certainly not a good thing for the Extension Service in the long-term.
Assigning agents to multiple counties and possibly to subject areas with which they are not familiar doesn't bode well either. Travel time and distances will be greatly increased in many parts of the state, certainly reducing the time that agents will be able to devote to substantive services.
Following the disclosures about what's going to happen to the Extension Service, several prominent agricultural organizations that supported the election of the legislators and governor who approved the budget cuts are now complaining about what's going to happen. Perhaps they ought to rethink whom they'll support in upcoming elections.
On a personal and professional level, I have attended more than 1,000 events and activities sponsored or organized by the Extension Service in the past 32 plus years and even received a few awards for my efforts in publicizing what the Extension Service does.
Not surprisingly, I also have some anxieties about what's to unfold in the coming months and years.