MT Ag Stations And Extension Face Budget Cuts

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URGENT ACTION REQUIRED

The following information is from Jeff Jacobsen, Dean, MSU College of Agriculture.

The information below was developed by John Youngberg, Chair of the Ag Coalition.  I am choosing to use it for the masses.  If the proposed cuts were to take place, it would mean in rough dollar figures $1.2M for the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station (MAES) and $600,000 for the Extension Service.  The cuts would be implemented July 1, 2010 and would drastically impact people and programs, this also follows another biennium of budget reductions.  This would be a permanent base budget cut, so we would forever be diminished.  I am not saying that in these economic times we should be immune from reductions with everyone else, not disproportionate.  I could also make the case that our research stimulates the economy throughout Montana, so it is an investment that generates revenues for all of Montana.

What to do?  Be part of the educational process of public input into the value of MAES to your operation and Montana communities.  One could attend the meeting in Helena on April 15 OR provide email input  to Lynette Brown at lybrown@montana.edu (realizing that it is calving and spring planting seasons, and very short notice).  She will collect information and distribute it directly to the Montana Board of Regents and the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education (OCHE) prior to the meeting on April 15.  If we do not attempt to clearly demonstrate the support for agricultural research and education people and programs, it will be gone.   Attendance is critical, participation is ESSENTIAL.  Public education is ESSENTIAL.  I would hope that we could generate a LARGE volume of support, LARGE numbers of contacts, PASSIONATE education on our impact and, ultimately, turn this around QUICKLY.

Feel free to distribute to all advisory committees and public contacts and encourage their direct and timely feedback.  When more information becomes available it will be distributed.  Thanks for considering input into this important process and for the unique opportunity to serve the most important segment of the Montana economy 


Folks: The governor has suggested budget cuts for all departments of Montana government as he is allowed when the ending fund balance dips below designated thresholds.  The Office of Higher Education’s (OHE) suggested budget cut is 4.51{4d08edaf359bc2115b18a651716ebd427a137946ddca2143fa23b3ea721061e4}.  This number is arrived at through a formula that is in statute.  Because of an agreement that was signed when Montana took federal stimulus funds, the interpretation by the governor’s budget office, the amount of money appropriated for educational units can only be cut slightly more than the suggested amount.  The rest of the cuts to OCHE funds will have to come out of the Agencies under the commissioner, which are; Bureau of Mines and Geology, Montana Agricultural Experiment Station (MAES), Extension Service (ES), Fire Training School, MSU Family Practices, Forestry Convervation Experiment Station and Yellow Bay.  The bottom line is that when you apply the numbers which are below, the Research Agencies will suffer over a disproportionate 10{4d08edaf359bc2115b18a651716ebd427a137946ddca2143fa23b3ea721061e4} cut.  As is usually the case, OCHE agencies suffer a larger than average cut when cutting is done and a smaller than average increase when budgets are increased. The agencies could (and would have to) live with the same amount of cut as the rest of higher education at 4.51{4d08edaf359bc2115b18a651716ebd427a137946ddca2143fa23b3ea721061e4}, but 10.39{4d08edaf359bc2115b18a651716ebd427a137946ddca2143fa23b3ea721061e4} will severely hamper (destroy) their ability to provide services to Montana’s largest industry, agriculture.

 

There will be a hearing on April 15th from 1:30 to 4:00 pm. in the OCHE Conference Room in Helena for the Agencies to respond to the Board of Regents.  The address is 2500 Broadway. We need to get people to the meeting to support the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station and Extension Service. 

Source: Jeff Jacobsen-Dean, MSU College of Agriculture

Posted by Russell

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