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PLNA e-News: Protecting Values In Pennsylvania

State Budget Impasse May Shut Down Penn State Extension and Ag Research

Wednesday, February 3, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Gregg Robertson
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Penn State LogoSTATE COLLEGE – Penn State Extension and Agricultural Research are running out of money will have to shut down unless the state budget impasse is solved quickly.

Penn State Extension provides education and technical assistance to landscape contractors, nursery growers and other agricultural related businesses in Pennsylvania. The research done by the Penn State College of Ag Sciences is working on problems important to the green industry such as wooly adelgid, emerald ash borer, boxwood blight and Asian long horned beetle.

The budget line item that funds these programs was zeroed out by Governor Wolf in December.

If zero funding stands, it will have devastating impacts on the entire college, including Penn State Extension and the agricultural research stations. Below are some of the potential impacts.

  • As the state’s commitment to the land-grant partnership, this state funding directly leverages more than $34.5 million of federal (USDA) and county funding and supports the generation of more than $56 million in grant funding (mainly from USDA).
  • Thus, if zero funding stands, Penn State Extension and the agricultural research stations are in jeopardy of closure, as Extension programs and services are not supported by tuition dollars.
  • Flagship programs such as 4-H and Master Gardeners would also have to be discontinued.
  • The non-preferred appropriation bills – that funds Penn State (and the College) the University of Pittsburgh, Temple, Lincoln, and the Penn Vet School – are still pending passage as well, limiting the University’s ability to continue to float the college until a budget resolution is accomplished. 
  • The Land Scrip fund enjoyed a 9.3% increase in the budget passed by both the House and Senate, demonstrating strong support for these programs.
  • This increase included $2 million to focus on biosecurity issues, with a focus on the threat of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). Another case of HPAI was recently found in Indiana in turkey flocks, threatening hundreds of thousands of birds. Penn State Extension and research provides needed expertise and infrastructure to address such threats.
  • The avian influenza threat is just one example of why these programs are critical to the future and profitability of Pennsylvania agriculture by proving needed expertise, research, and best practices.

PLNA is asking you to please contact legislative leadership immediately, as well as your local legislators, to request restoration of the college’s funding. Go to this link to make your opinion heard in Harrisburg!

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