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Texas budget woes cause AgriLife Extension Service job losses

Officials have completed the difficult task of notifying employees whose jobs with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service will end between now and Oct. 31.

The personnel cutback affects 94 jobs - 31 vacant positions that will not be filled and 63 occupied positions that will be eliminated agencywide. The downsizing results from a 5 percent state budget reduction, according to Dr. Ed Smith, AgriLife Extension director.

Leaders of the state agency, which has offices in 250 Texas counties, said their decisions were based on maintaining core programs statewide.

AgriLife Extension is part of a national community-based adult and youth education system.

"We delayed restructuring as long as we could, because we hoped that economic conditions would improve," said Smith. "But that has not happened and we regret that we have to take these steps." One-fourth of the staffing cut is at the agency's College Station headquarters. The rest is throughout Texas.

“To keep positions strategically distributed, we will refill some vacancies,” said Kyle Smith, AgriLife Extension executive associate director. “So displaced personnel may find other internal job opportunities.”

He stressed that the agency has long maintained a presence in each county. That will continue.

"Counties currently being served by a single extension agent or through a shared position will not be impacted by the new staffing plan," said Darrell Dromgoole, AgriLife Extension associate director for county programs. "We looked most closely at counties where we had three or more positions, especially if more than one employee supported the same subject matter," said Dromgoole.

Dromgoole said all county Extension personnel contribute to 4-H, AgriLife Extension’s youth program, and will share full responsibility for that program where needed.

"Youth programming remains a strong emphasis of our agency," he said.

TAGS: Legislative
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