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Budget Impacts on the College of Agricultural Sciences

Although there is strong support for the college's agricultural research and extension programs at all levels of state government, the FY2015/16 Land Scrip Fund was part of the line-item veto and is currently zeroed out.

If zero funding stands, it will have an adverse, cascading effect on agriculture in Pennsylvania.

Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences agricultural research and Extension programs are funded through the state general funds budget -- through the Land Scrip Fund -- located in the Department of Agriculture's budget.

This represents the state's commitment to the 150-year-old land-grant partnership between Penn State and federal, state and county governments. These programs are not funded through tuition dollars.

Below are anticipated impacts to the College, Pennsylvania agriculture, and the Commonwealth with the loss of the $50.5 million funding in the Land Scrip line for the College:

  • Loss of an additional $22 million of USDA capacity funds to the college as part of the federal commitment to the Land-Grant partnership.
  • Loss of approximately $56 million of grant funding competitively awarded to the college (mainly from USDA).
  • Loss of approximately $13 million of county funds as part of the county's commitment to the Land-Grant partnership.
  • Thus, if zero funding stands, Penn State Extension and our agricultural research stations will cease operations, as these services are not supported by tuition dollars.
  • Flagship programs such as 4-H and Master Gardener would 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/research provides expertise and infrastructure to address such threats.
  • The HPAI threat is just one example of why these programs are critical to the future and profitability of Pa agriculture by proving needed expertise, research, and best practices.