This is in response to The Journal's Feb. 27 story about the potential elimination of the Haskell Agricultural Laboratory (HAL) near Concord, Nebraska.
Closing HAL will be a significant loss to agriculture in Northeast Nebraska. Most of our contributions, while relevant to our geography, are valuable to a wider area.
The budget cuts being imposed by the Legislature are an excuse to eliminate HAL. The administrative leadership in the University of Nebraska's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources has not supported HAL for many years. Over the past decades, HAL has lost positions in Youth, Nutrition, Biosystems Engineering, Swine Management, Dairy Science, Beef Science and Agricultural Economics. These losses are due to a combination of how departments compete for positions and administrative neglect.
The administration has used our ambitions and planning against us. (I was a professor at HAL for 34 years; I retired on Jan. 5.)
Instead of being proud of what we have accomplished with limited land and diminished faculty, the administration uses our need for more land and our plans for a better research facility as reasons to close the place. They should use these reasons to ask, why have we neglected HAL for so long?
They also assert that we have no vision. We have a vision for our work. It is through our plans and work ethic that they know of our need for more land and better facilities. If you care about Northeast Nebraska as I do, then let your state senator, the governor, our Regents and university administration know how you feel. - Charles Shapiro, Wayne, Nebraska