UMD Students Fear Cuts Could Come to Campus Farm

Students have created a petition to stop potential cuts to the SAP Farm. University says no decision has been made on where cuts will be made.

UMD is facing a $4 million budget deficit and the school wants to cut nearly $@ million this fall.

The potential cuts would allow the university to move forward with its budget resolution plan.

However, the looming decisions have some groups on campus making their case heard on why they should be spared.

Many student workers at the SAP Farm enjoy the hands-on learning the agricultural experience of the farm provides. When they heard about potential cuts, they’re growing a case to save the farm.

The SAP Farm stands for Sustainable Agriculture Project.

“It’s by far the most hands on thing I’ve ever done at the university,” said Cameron Gustafson.

Student workers like Gustafson hope the last Market Day of the year isn’t the last chance to sell crops from the farm.

“This has a lot of potential to be so much bigger than it already is,” said Gustafson.

The SAP Farm teaches students about sustainable agriculture and provides nearly 30,000 pounds of food to UMD Dining Services.

So when potential cuts became the news on campus, many with the SAP Farm became worried that it could come to the farm.

“We tried to act in advance and just make the students’ voices heard that this farm is important to people beyond the CLA and beyond UMD,” said Gustafson.

While the university wants to cut and reallocate resources, they haven’t decided from where just yet.

“At this point in time these are all scenarios, these are all points of discussion, no final decisions have been made,” said Lynne Williams, director of marketing and public relations.

The students have formed a petition to give to the board of regents to save the seeds where their knowledge sprouts from.

“Right now it’s really two separate issues CLA addressing their budget reduction and having a larger sustainable plan on the farm,” said Williams.

For now these students enjoy the fruits of their labor. They hope to cultivate these learning opportunities for seasons and semesters to come.

“I guarantee I will be looking back at this being a pivotal moment in my life,” said Gustafson.

Right now, the university says they have everything on the table and are looking at all scenarios for the cuts.

Just a few years ago, the university did have a budget deficit of over $12 million.