They say that we are going to lose OSU Extension Service programs due to county commissioners' budget cuts. I have seen the Extension Service's forestry program making this county's forests a bit more productive. I have read about its help to county growers in viticulture and pear production. If this is what you mean by smaller government, count me out. — Rich Fairbanks, Jacksonville

Give a person a fish and they eat for a day. Teach a person to fish and they become self-sufficient.

Helping many become self-sufficient are large numbers of volunteers who teach or help with OSU Extension programs such as 4-H, Master Gardeners and Food Preservers, Small Farms or Forestry, etc. They reach and train many people with little cost, but the programs need coordination and a facility from which to work.

By law, federal and state support is cut from counties that no longer contribute their share.

4-H is an example of teaching lifelong skills, ethics and responsibility, advantages lacking for many young persons today. Money earned by 4-Hers raising livestock helps pay college expenses for many. It did for me, for my kids and for my grandkids.

4-Hers learn real skills, i.e., sewing, cooking and nutrition, food preservation and safety, effective communication — and much more.

County commissioners and budget members are considering dropping support for our OSU Extension Service, which includes the above programs.

I know there are many "needs" and too few dollars, but to drop self-help programs that work and throw them under the bus is really counterproductive. — Doreen Bradshaw

As an organic gardener, seed saver and consumer, I am very concerned about the encroachment of biotechnology in our food supply. Roundup used to be labeled biodegradable and is still considered safe by many to be a short-lived toxin that quickly dissipates.

My friends, quite the opposite is true, as time is telling and as more human health and soil and bee problems are scientifically linked to Roundup and other herbicide use. So, essentially for the convenience of farmers weeding from their tractor or plane, we allow Roundup Ready sugar beet seed production here in Jackson County so farmers elsewhere can grow beets for white sugar production for a few years until weeds develop the same resistance, which then requires stronger herbicides. Sounds like a vicious circle to me.

Does anyone think that humans will become Roundup Ready (resistant) and then thrive in a chemically polluted environment? It doesn't sound like a reality I'd like to hand down to my kids! I strongly urge us all to register to vote and pass 15-119 in May 2014.

P.S. What about organic beet and chard? — Daniel S. Gregg, Ashland

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