By the Numbers - How the new state budget increase 
supports research and extension

A 3.4 percent increase in funding for Penn State agricultural research and extension included in the newly passed 2013–2014 state budget will help to maintain programs critical for Pennsylvania’s agricultural industry and the consumers it serves.

Other funding in the budget will be used to establish three resource centers that will bring Penn State and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture together to address key agricultural issues in the state, said Barbara Christ, interim dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences.

“We are extremely grateful to the General Assembly and the governor for this increase in our appropriation for the coming year,” Christ said. “This is a positive statement regarding the work we do and speaks to the need for these programs in helping to ensure a safe and abundant food supply and vibrant agricultural economy in Pennsylvania.”

The budget provides a $1.5 million increase for agricultural research and extension, bringing the total to more than $46.2 million.

This base funding supports the faculty, staff, and infrastructure needed for the college to compete for research grants, most of which come from federal agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health. These grants make up the lion’s share of the college’s annual research expenditures, which approach $100 million.

“Without the state’s contribution, we would be unable to leverage our resources to bring this external funding into Pennsylvania, where it generates jobs and economic activity and keeps our food system on the cutting edge,” Christ said.

The 3.4 percent increase in the 2013–2014 state budget will serve mostly to maintain current programs and minimize further downsizing, according to Christ.

“With increasing costs for state pension obligations, healthcare premiums, and modest salary increases, we still anticipate need
ing to bridge a nearly $1 million gap in our budget in the coming year,” she said.

Chuck Gill