The 19 percent cut in state funding to Penn State University means less money for a program that helps farmers throughout Pennsylvania.
It’s true that Penn State enacted tuition hikes, but none of that money will go to the Cooperative Extension offices located in each county.
The offices send experts out to farms, armed with the latest in agricultural research and best farm management practices.
Chuck Gill, with the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, said the extension offices advise farmers on everything from minimizing water pollution to dealing with stinkbugs, which cause millions of dollars in crop damage.
“There needs to be research to figure out how to manage this pest so that the growers don’t lose their crops, possibly go out of business because of the damage caused by that pest,” Gill said. “So this is the kind of issue that we address in the college by our research and by extension. “
Gill says state budget cuts will probably mean the elimination of about 75 jobs at the College of Agricultural Sciences.
It’s not yet clear how the extension offices will be affected by that. In the past, employees have seen their region extend from one county’s borders to include a county cluster.