Learn about the potential cuts to federal funding for Extension Service programs and what you can do.
Currently, ongoing budget discussions in the U.S. Congress threaten Extension Service programs in West Virginia communities. Some legislators in Washington, D.C., are planning to cut Smith-Lever funding for Cooperative Extension activities delivered through West Virginia University and other land-grant universities across the United States. The fiscal year 2011 Continuing Resolution, which has passed in the House, would cut Smith-Lever funding by more than $29 million, reducing that budget back to the 1994 appropriation level. WVU Extension would lose more than $337,000 this year—between now and June 30.
Simply stated, if our budget is reduced, we will have to look at which services and programs we will not be able to deliver because we have fewer funds to work with. A reduction of this level may harm our ability to continue to provide all services at current levels throughout our state. Sustained cuts in the federal budget could eventually affect personnel. While no “cutback” talks have taken place, it is likely that all program areas could be affected, which would affect children who go to 4-H camp, farmers who rely on our help with their crops and livestock, families who receive valuable nutrition and health information from us, and communities who rely on us to help strengthen their downtowns and economies.
You can help in several easy ways.
The fastest way is through e-mail, now. This link provides the web-based contact information for each representative. On the contact pages, representatives have a webform email to fill out, include the message, and send.
No. As private citizens, you are entitled to contact your Congressional representatives. As a professional, you are educating your clientele about the budget situation. When you encourage clients to share their stories with Congress, you are conducting an informational program for our Congressional representatives. Some members of Congress may not know that a cut to Smith-Lever equals a cut to Extension programs.
The Smith-Lever Act of 1914 established the Cooperative Extension Service, and it continues to provide federal funds for Cooperative Extension activities. The act requires that each state provide a 100% match from non-federal resources (many states provide a greater match).
For more Smith-Lever details, see the fact sheet prepared by the Association of Public and-Land Grant Universities (APLU).
To learn about the latest developments in Washington, visit the eXtension web page, which is being updated regularly with FAQs, articles, and links to helpful sources.