Friday, February 20, 2009

WSU Ag Extension Offices Facing Extinction?

The following letter was sent to me by one of our local CSA farmers. I don't know about you, but I think that closing our WSU Ag Extension Offices is one of the biggest steps backwards I've heard about in a long time. Heck, it's right up there with Pakistan handing a chunk of their nation to the Taliban as part of a truce agreement. Some of Clark County's most beloved, dirt related activities are associated with the County's WSU Extension Office and we are in serious danger of losing those programs. Imagine life without the Master Gardeners? Not too rosy, is it? Please read the following and then PLEASE write, call, e-mail or send smoke signals to the WSU officials named in the letter and let them know that you are vehemently opposed to them cutting their budget at the expense of our Extension Offices.

WSU Budget Proposal to State Legislature

The recent WSU proposal to the state legislature to meet requested budget reduction targets (13% to 18%) includes efforts to protect instruction and research. WSU suggested scenarios proposing cuts to "public service" (of which Extension comprises a most part) equaling 49% to 75%. At this level, many or most county offices would lose WSU funding support for the County-WSU partnership.

Washington has 35 community colleges, six public 4-year universities and numerous private colleges, all of whom provide instruction. ONLY WSU has the land grant outreach and public service responsibility and mission. WSU is unique in Washington in having the public service mission.

State funding reductions place other funding sources at risk.

County funding is predicated upon our ability to provide faculty and staff.
Most grants require some form of cost share – generally provided by state PBL dollars. Therefore, PBL reductions will be associated with a loss of extramural funding and F&A returns.
Federal Smith-Lever funding requires a dollar per dollar match

I am providing information on this proposal below. Please contact me if you have any questions.

Doug Stienbarger, Director
WSU Clark County Extension

Want to Comment? University Contacts for more Information:

Elson Floyd
President, WSU
Assistant: Karen Fischer

Office of the President, WSU
PO Box 641048
Pullman, WA 99164-1048

Warwick Bayly
Provost and Executive Vice President, WSU
Assistant: Donna Clark
PO Box 641046
Pullman, WA 99164-1046

John Gardner
VP, Economic Development & Extension
Blog URL:
Assistant: Alexis Holzer

WSU West
520 Pike Street, Suite 1101
Seattle, WA 98101-3916t

Larry Ganders
Assistant to the President, Government Relations
410 11th Avenue, SE, Suite 102
Olympia, WA 98501
Assistant: Annie Van Scyoc

University Budget Committee:

Spokesman Review article on WSU budget scenario presented to State Senate

This article outlines WSU proposed cuts and links to a web video of WSU Provost Warwick Bayly's presentation to the Washington State Senate Higher Education and Work Force Development Committee.

Facts about WSU Extension (statewide)

Leveraging State Dollars

For every $1 of state PBL (permanent budget line) dollars invested in Extension, Extension staff and faculty leverage an additional $3 in externally funded grants and sponsored projects. In some program areas, such as the Energy Program, that investment is $11 for every $1 invested.

At the close of fiscal year 2008, Extension again ended the year in excess of $23 million in grant and contract expenditures; second highest unit in university in extramural funding. This amount does not include grants accounted for through the county and not run through WSU. The level of extramural funding per Extension faculty FTE averaged $145,000 in FY08.

WSU Extension grants returned $2 million in overhead (Facilities & Administration) directly to the university last year. Additional F&A was returned to the departments and the Research & Extension Centers.

Community Access and Outreach

Extension faculty members each make nearly 7,000 educational contacts providing knowledge that enhances the environment, strengthens the economy, or improves their quality of life. Extension's strong local partnerships allow us to leverage human capital resources in order to affect action on critical issues.

Almost 13,300 volunteers contribute their time and talents to Washington State facilitated by WSU Extension. Each Extension educator averages 120 volunteers who magnify their work and contribute time and talents equivalent to $26 million annually.

Currently, all of Washington's residents can access the WSU system through Extension's partnership with all 39 counties. Residents access WSU's finest programs, including Distance Degrees facilitated by the nine (9) Learning Centers. Extension's presence in every county enables community members to come to WSU directly with their issues and receive educational programs adapted to critical needs in the community.

Who Funds Extension?

WSU Extension is funded the same way it operates – with strong, vital partnerships that leverage each other. Specifically, WSU Extension receives funding from the state of Washington, the federal government, all 39 counties, as well as internally generated funds. In addition, WSU Extension educators successfully compete for dollars from public agencies and private funding organizations. While State funding is only about 25% of Extension's total, it is the foundation upon which Extension leverage the federal, county, and grant funding.

While the major public funding partners (state, county and federal governments) continue to provide critical support for WSU Extension, the mix of funding continues to change. Over the past five years, funding from state and county sources has remained relatively constant overall, whereas direct federal appropriations have actually decreased when inflation is considered.

When federal, state, or county government invests in WSU Extension, these dollars leverage funding from other sources. Every dollar the state appropriates for Extension programming leverages $2 from other sources; every dollar invested by county government leverages $5 from other sources; and every dollar invested by the federal government in formula funds leverages more than $10 from other sources.

Extension Funding

Federal. Funding for WSU Extension includes federal formula funds appropriated by Congress and administered through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) under authority of the Smith-Lever Act.

State. The Washington State Legislation appropriates money to WSU. WSU administration allocates dollars within the WSU system, including to Extension.

County. County Memorandums of Agreement (MOAs) allocate approximately $3.2 million annually in salaries for WSU employees. Counties also provide funding to support offices, local staffing, internet, vehicles, travel allocations, and other operations including facilities/office space. The additional county contribution is $6.6 million.

Budget figures indicate Counties reduced their total contributions to WSU by only 7% for CY09 (FY 08 $10,676,624 million; FY09 $9,945,422 million = $731,202l).

Grants and Gifts. Extension staff leverage their time by obtaining grants and other funding to implement programs for residents of Washington.

See graphs for funding and expenditures in attachment.

Economic Benefits of Extension

Extension Statewide Programs (sample)

Publications that speak to program quality for the statewide programs and how they are involved in their communities include the following:

Beach Watchers
Food Sense
Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
Food Safety, Good Agricultural Practices
Forest Stewardship Program
Master Gardeners
Sustainable Agriculture
Managing Personal Finances in Tough Times

Clark County Extension (

Our local Extension office leverages state funding:

Local matches to obtain approximately $180,000 federal dollars to fund Food Safety & Nutrition education targeting low income youth in schools and adults.
Public Works clean water funding to help educate residents on managing land to produce less polluted runoff (Watershed Stewards and Small Acreage programs)
1080 volunteers (4-H, WSU MG, Watershed Stewards, Food Advisors) worked over 30,000 hours (the equivalent of over15 staff and $600,000).
Local MG Foundation of Clark County (501c3) helps fund staff time to support WSU Master Gardeners.
Federal, state, and local non-profit dollars fund the Gee Creek Restoration program to help the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge and local watershed residents.

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