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Note from the Dean

February 19, 2011

As the Dean and Director of UVM Extension I am encouraging interested individuals to consider the following information regarding the current federal budget reductions in Cooperative Extension.

We are not asking for increases, but we are asking that Cooperative Extension be treated in the same manner as other federal funding lines in the agricultural budget. If done so, the Cooperative Extension budget would be maintained at FY2010 levels and not reduced.

UVM Extension receives some federal funding each year to support the work of youth learning life skills in 4-H, in the Youth Agricultural Project, and in after-school projects. UVM Extension helps farmers write and implement nutrient management plans to improve water quality in our lakes and streams. UVM Extension is a sponsor of the ROPS program, AgrAbility and RAVR, all programs aimed at helping individuals stay healthy and employed in agriculture. UVM Extension works with local farmers to enhance the supply of local energy and food production. UVM Extension has helped families learn how to manage diabetes, improve daily nutritional habits and fight obesity. UVM Extension works with local community leaders across the state to support local needs in a variety of ways. UVM Extension is local and provides the front door to the knowledge and capabilities of many departments at the University of Vermont. UVM Extension has been serving Vermonters for the past 99 years.

Fairness in handling the budget reductions is the request. Cooperative Extension funding should not be cut more than other budget lines and restored to the FY2010 level to insure we can continue to work with individuals, families and communities meeting their needs.

If interested, feel free to contact your members of Congress and to ask your friends and neighbors to consider doing the same. It is imperative that members of Congress hear from our supporters that the cuts to Smith-Lever are greater than cuts to other parts of the budget. In some cases other budget lines have been held even or slightly increased, while the Extension budget (Smith-Lever fund) has been targeted for cuts. If we cannot show support from across the country, and these cuts to Extension are implemented, the system may never be able to recover its momentum. Action is needed and being requested in each state!

Here are some talking points

Please note it is tremendously important to respond now to this appeal. No time can be lost. The vote is imminent. Your contacts will be important to the process in the House, but also will be critical when the House passes a bill that then moves to the Senate and to conference.

For details about the FY 2011 Continuing Resolution, see www.land-grant.org/reports/2011/02-11.htm.

To locate your Congressional representative, go to: http://house.gov and enter your zip code at the top left.

I have notified the staff of each of our Congressional Delegations and they understand they may be hearing from many individuals as a result of this call to action. They are supportive of this effort and will use our response to bolster their positions in working towards a better outcome than the one presented in the current House bill.
Thanks,
Douglas O. Lantagne
Dean
UVM Extension

UVM Extension helps individuals and communities put research based knowledge to work

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