A fiscal 2012 funding bill that passed the GOP-controlled House this month cuts $35 million in those Extension funds from the current level of $294 million.
As university budgets take a beating across the country, agricultural schools and Extension programs are feeling the impact.
Large-scale layoffs have been threatened at some agricultural colleges, and even 4-H youth programs are facing the ax because federal and state funding are on the chopping block. At a time when farmers are being asked to grow more for food and fuel to meet soaring world demand, experts warn against eroding the country's commitment to agricultural research.
"We're mortgaging our future with some of these cuts," says Ian Maw, vice president for food, agriculture and natural resources at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. “Most state budgets are experiencing real trauma.”
Often, he says, schools are forced to cut into the "bone and marrow" of their capacity to serve agriculture.