The University of Idaho Thursday presented its Board of Regents with an update to the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences' budget review, including some signs of agricultural industry support for the research and extension centers.
John Hammel, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences dean, briefed the regents about industry, stakeholder and public meetings held in September across the state to seek comments and alternate solutions. The information was provided during the Idaho State Board of Education meeting Thursday in Lewiston at Lewis-Clark State College.
He advised the regents that the college must ready its plan in early November to meet its fiscal responsibilities to balance its budget while providing agricultural research and extension activities statewide.
"Our challenge is that we must match the college's operations with the state's financial conditions and make sacrifices to balance our budget," he added.
Two successive state-mandated cuts have pared nearly 17 percent, or $4.7 million, from the Agricultural and Research Extension Service appropriation budget, which funds research and extension at the centers, in county offices and on the university's Moscow campus.
The listening sessions and public comments showed broad support for the research and extension centers. In addition, stakeholder meetings are generating ideas for other ways to sustainably fund or operate the centers with new partnership models that are being actively considered, Hammel said.
However, he added that the talks are preliminary and the college must have commitments by Nov. 1 to provide enough time to implement the plan before Dec. 31.
The college administers research and extension centers statewide, cooperates with counties to base University of Idaho Extension faculty in county offices, and maintains education and research activities from its Moscow campus.