Thursday, July 24, 2008

Conservation Center Likely Earns a Reprieve

Some good news in this morning's paper -- it looks as if the J. Phil Campbell Natural Resource Conservation Center will make it another year. While the paper attributes the reprieve to a congressional rejection of the President's plan to close the Watkinsville "experiment station" and other similar facilities, Voice of Moderation's D.C. sources say that nearly everything is "on hold" until November and that without an appropriations bill passing, everything was set to remain status quo, anyway. Bottom line: not a lot happens in D.C. while everyone waits to see who the next president is.

However, long-term it doesn't look like the Experiment Station is going to be with us as the undersecretary of agriculture essentially told our Senators that the station's "work is done." Hopefully this is not the case, but if it is, station administrators will hopefully shift the focus so they are making the wisest use of our tax dollars.

If this can't be done, the time is now for Oconee's leaders and perhaps officials at UGA or with the state department of agriculture to begin collaboratively planning "BRAC-style" for the future of this facility and its 1,100+ acres of greenspace in the heart of Oconee. The Campbell Center and its research heritage should remain an asset for Oconee County as we seek to preserve our agricultural roots and manage our future growth.

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