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ATTN NC residents!! Budget cuts threaten NC Coop. Extension!

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  • ATTN NC residents!! Budget cuts threaten NC Coop. Extension!

    To anyone who has ever used the NC Cooperative Extension service or has even considered it, please read the below memo from Dr. Joe Zublena, director of NC Cooperative Extension. NOW more than ever, we need you to voice your support of the Extension system in NC - one of the largest and most effective in the country. Legislators are proposing up to a $13M budget reduction which would force the loss of 300-400 Extension positions across the state and devastate the current system as we know it. The regional extension programs that they are proposing to model NC after DO NOT WORK. Contact your legislators and voice your support for Extension and for the importance of agriculture in NC (It's our #1 industry!!! $74.3B!) This also affects the NC Dept of Agriculture (hello free soil testing and cheap forage testing!) and the NC Dept of Environment and Natural Resources. Time to make some noise!

    M E M O R A N D U M

    TO: State Advisory Council Members
    County Advisory Leadership Councils
    County Commodity Committees
    Extension Foundation Leadership

    FROM: Joe Zublena
    Assistant Vice Chancellor for Extension, Engagement, and Economic Development and
    Associate Dean and Director for North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service

    DATE March 25, 2011

    SUBJECT: Supports of Cooperative Extension and the Agricultural Research Station

    Dean Wynne informed us that the Higher Education Budget will be discussed next week. As you recall, this is where the College's Agricultural Programs which include the Cooperative Extension Service (CES) and Agricultural Research Service (ARS) budgets, reside. Per your previous requests, this note is to alert you that this weekend and next week is the time for greater action. There is no question that our budgets are in significant jeopardy.

    Recent information from downtown has not been favorable for the University or us. Conversations for cuts are now in the range of 25 - 30%. For CES a 30% reduction is over $13M which would require the closing of 300 - 400 positions. Similar cuts face research. Needless to say this would be devastating to our abilities to meet the current and future needs of our citizens. In 2010 CES reported over 5.8 million contacts.

    In addition to general budget reduction issues, this week the Legislative Program Evaluation Division (PED) released a draft of their 2011 – 2012 Work Plan, Potential Projects. This list contains 42 programs being put on the table for the legislature to determine which should be studied. Alphabetical listing put agriculture as #1 and was cited as follows:

    “1. Agricultural Research and Extension Services
    This proposed evaluation will explore potential strategies to optimize agricultural services provided by the land-grant universities and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Together, 100 county Cooperative Extension Services, 18 agricultural research stations, the NC A&T University Farm, and 8 university field laboratories provide research and/or extension services. Other states, such as Nebraska, Virginia, and Wyoming have regionalized or otherwise restructured services to save costs. The total budget for entities that provide services to North Carolina farmers is approximately $52.1 million”.

    Please note that Extension has now not only been linked to the Experiment Station review but of funds noted, approximately $37M is from CES. In addition, the university and NCDA CS have had a synergistic relationship regarding the experiment stations for years and this topic has already been studied. Also note the regional extension concept is not as effective as local presence within counties and most states that have this system have significantly less local support and fewer significant impacts. NC currently has one of the nation’s highest support levels from local governments because we align and work hand and hand with them. This study will not be beneficial to agriculture or CES.

    Here are the links to the joint legislative Planning and Evaluation non-standing committee members and the entire PED list of possible studies.



    Below are some additional key points that may be useful. Keep in mind every program we provide is at risk. When interacting with your legislators speak from the heart and about the programs you believe in and support within their and your districts.

    • The CES budget is only 0.23% of the General Fund. The Research Budget is 0.30% of the General Fund. Combining these two with NCDA CS (0.31%) and NCA&T SU, the primary research, extension, marketing and development organizations supporting agriculture are only 1% of the General Fund. Agriculture is the #1 industry at $74.3B and more than 688,000 jobs in the state. This data clearly shows a very frugal, effective and efficient system of support for such a significant and important industry in our state.

    • A recent (March 2011) Council on Agriculture Science and Technology report showed North Carolina is among the states that has seen the greatest growth from 1960 through 2004 in agricultural output. In addition the report showed nationally that agricultural productivity is largely responsible for the fact that the percentage of U.S. household income spent on food has decreased from 22.3 to 9.5 percent at the same time that total food consumption increased. The report also points to studies that conclude that each dollar spent on public agricultural research returns $32 to society. Information from this report validates that agricultural research and extension is a significant value to society and our efforts in NC have been one of the best in the county. This was not by accident, we’ve had a state that understood the importance of agriculture and invested in its future through CES and ARS.

    • Research today provides adaptability, economic development, competitiveness and sustainability for our state’s future. Most research takes 4-10 years to provide reliable outcomes. Adoption of that research by producers and adaptation of the research for local conditions occur though Extension.

    • 4-H is one of the Nation’s premier youth development programs. Compared to their peers, youth engaged in 4-H: stay in school longer, have higher graduation rates, have higher college attendance and graduation, smoke less, have significantly lower rates of criminal conduct and arrests, and are more involved in their communities. In 2010 NC 219,000 youth and 22,000 volunteers participated in 4-H. Youth in 4-H make significant contributions throughout the state and will be our future leaders just as many of our 1,000,000 4-H alums are leaders in their communities today.

    • Since the early 1900’s NC communities have had strong leadership though the efforts of rural women participating in home demonstration clubs and now Extension and Community Associations. We will be celebrating their 100th anniversary this year and their accomplishment are many including the development of rural libraries and book mobile programs, establishing hot lunch programs in NC rural schools, selling more than $2M in war bonds for the WWII hospital ship, Larkspur whose total cost was $4M and helping bring electricity to rural NC. Today’s Family and Consumer Sciences Extension programs train women in leadership development and empower them to publicly address family and community issues, provide education for their families on financial management, energy conservation and nutritious and safe food preparation.

    We appreciate your continued support for Extension and Research within your College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Your efforts today will shape the future!
    "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." --Dwight D Eisenhower

    Boston Terrier Rescue of NC - www.btrnc.org - Adopt for Life!

  • #2
    Oh boy. I can't believe that's on the chopping block. Idiot Rep. legislature.

    The state is in a lot of trouble. They need to do the obvious. Hurting our no. 1 industry isn't going to help. Lowering cooperate taxes (also on the table, makes sense doesn't it) isn't going to help either.

    if you want to flame away, a heads up: I could care a less.

    stats on NC Agriculture: http://www.agclassroom.org/kids/stats/northcarolina.pdf It's not all tobacco.
    Last edited by grayarabpony; Mar. 26, 2011, 09:59 AM.


    • Original Poster

      Originally posted by grayarabpony View Post
      It's not all tobacco.
      So true I wish more people realized how far reaching the industry really is.
      "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." --Dwight D Eisenhower

      Boston Terrier Rescue of NC - www.btrnc.org - Adopt for Life!


      • #4
        It's on the block in California, too. For years the California Farm Bureau has advocated for cutting taxes at any cost. Meet the cost. I wonder if they're rethinking that yet.

        In California, rural law enforcement and rural schools are also going to hurt, big time. People steal ag pumps for the copper, and less law enforcement will probably make that more likely. One stolen ag pump is a lot greater expense and hassle than the taxes were.

        I use cooperative extension and I'm a 4H leader. Those programs are really important, and they're cost effective. That said, if I was in the California Legislature and my choice was between funding schools that benefit all the people and these programs, I'd make the same choice. It's terrible that good, valuable services are being destroyed, and the cost to rebuild them in 5-10 years, if that were to happen, is going to be considerable.
        If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


        • Original Poster

          Originally posted by poltroon View Post
          It's terrible that good, valuable services are being destroyed, and the cost to rebuild them in 5-10 years, if that were to happen, is going to be considerable.
          And even more sad that many of these programs will never be rebuilt, once destroyed.
          "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." --Dwight D Eisenhower

          Boston Terrier Rescue of NC - www.btrnc.org - Adopt for Life!


          • #6
            All of DENR in on the chopping block for either removal or redistribution. The good ol' boys are getting tired of us natural resource protecting folks inconveniently getting in the way of their pet development projects to enrich themselves. Like we ever really manage to stop that particular steamroller anyway...sigh.
            Life doesn't have perfect footing.

            Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
            We Are Flying Solo


            • #7
              I feel your pain. I work for the University of Tennessee Extension service. Our administration just cut 60 positions statewide due to budget cuts, and it looks like we will face further budget reductions in the next fiscal year. Extension programs are some of the most cost-effective of any governmental program. Most of ours return $5-9 to the economy/taxpayers for every dollar that we spend.

              Extension is so much more than just ag! (Although I work on the ag side of things.) Extension programs actually reach out to ALL people in the community; I would argue that they are at least as vital to the community as schools, if not more so.

              Check out the national Cooperative Extension System Facebook page for a look at how all states are being affected by budget cuts, and how essential these programs are to our communities. http://www.facebook.com/CooperativeExtension


              • #8
                That makes no sense. Cutting the programs that help people feed the world and programs that conserve natural resources.

                Politicians make my rolly eye muscles tired.

                I hope these programs survive.
                Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                -Rudyard Kipling


                • #9
                  Dear Governer Bev Perdue,

                  You are an idiot!

                  Someone who Knows!


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by JSwan View Post
                    That makes no sense. Cutting the programs that help people feed the world and programs that conserve natural resources.

                    Politicians make my rolly eye muscles tired.

                    I hope these programs survive.
                    The problem in California is that state revenue per dollar of personal income is at a 40-year low and the total size of the budget is around 70% of what it was in 2007.

                    Cutting these programs is terrible. But if you can't increase revenue, I'm not sure there are better choices. In California, at least, the alternatives are pretty bleak.

                    The Williamson Act, which is the ag exemption for property taxes, is also on the block here.

                    I hope they survive, too. They're good programs and they pay back more than they cost in the long run, as do many other programs on the chopping block.
                    If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


                    • Original Poster

                      Just bumping this back up as a reminder - voting on the budget line items that encompass NCSU Ag Research, Cooperative Extension, NC Dept of Ag, and NCDENR is scheduled to happen this week. Now is the time to call or write your legislators to let them know the importance of these programs. We know cuts will be made but we just want FAIR CUTS for everyone - not for certain groups to bear the brunt. I just finished firing off my 2 page letter to all my representatives and senators - how much of it do you think they'll actually read?
                      "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." --Dwight D Eisenhower

                      Boston Terrier Rescue of NC - www.btrnc.org - Adopt for Life!


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by shawneeAcres View Post
                        Dear Governer Bev Perdue,

                        You are an idiot!

                        Someone who Knows!
                        X2 -- ultimately she is my boss. I love that my boss is a moron and feels that no one in NC needs water to drink or needs to breathe. Or gives a crap about wildlife. We do a lot of projects with the NCSU Coop Unit, TONS of great research in sportfish, wildlife and habitat conservation, etc. Way to be a giant turd, Bev.
                        Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                        Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                        We Are Flying Solo


                        • #13
                          NC has one of the best reputations for a great extension program, and I am very sorry to hear this.
                          I hope you folks can make enough waves and let your legislators know this is not a program that should be cut. Otherwise, maybe their job as legislator will be cut too!
                          Good luck.
                          save lives...spay/neuter/geld