New budget cuts will affect CSU’s community outreach programs.
Among other programs, the Colorado State Forest Service, CSU Cooperative Extension and CSU Agricultural Experiment Station will each make additional 15 to 20 percent budget cuts effective July 1. These three agencies have statewide outreach and are beginning research to determine what they will cut.
“These three programs happen to be more visibly identified because it takes more planning,” said Keith Ickes, associate vice president for administration. “As in almost all budget cuts that we’re taking now, there will be a reduction in service.”
Each of the programs is looking into their office and into the community to find out where cuts will have the least impact.
“We’re in the process of reviewing all of our programs,” said Jim Hubbard, CSFS director. “We’re going to have closes on field offices and cutbacks on staff.”
CSFS manages forestlands throughout Colorado. They are responsible for disease and pest outbreaks, natural resources and forestry education, and coordinating equipment and crews to fight forest fires. With the new budget cuts, they may not be able to continue fulfilling these functions.
“These cuts are too big to just share the burden equally,” Hubbard said. “We’re going to have to pick pieces we won’t do anymore.”
Cooperative Extension has offices in 57 locations throughout Colorado. They are designed to provide educational programs about health, nutrition, agricultural business, natural resources conservation, parenting, anger management, horticulture, drought, obesity, chronic wasting disease, West Nile virus and developmental programs for Colorado’s youth. Budget cuts will force many of these outreach programs to close.
“We really extend research and resources to the community,” said Milan Rewerts, director of extension service for Cooperative Extension. “We’ll end up cutting probably 15 to 17 agents across the state. It’s going to have a major impact on people all across the state.”
The Agricultural Experiment Station conducts experiments in hopes of achieving profitable, environmentally responsible and socially acceptable agriculture. The agency has six focus areas: plant and animal improvement and new agricultural products, systems for producing, processing and marketing agricultural products, safe and effective pest control, food safety and nutrition, agricultural and environmental quality, and rural and community development. Lee Sommers, director of the Agriculture Experiment Station, knows programs must be cut, but is hoping to find out community priorities before decisions are made.
“The magnitude of state budget reductions will require significant changes in how the Colorado State University Agricultural Experiment Station conducts research throughout the state,” Sommers said.
Sommers will host eight community meetings around the state to determine the most significant programs and guidelines to consider when restructuring and eliminating programs.