Purdue University's College of Agriculture requests $3 million dollars per year for each year of the two-year budget above and beyond what they normally receive. Jay Akridge, dean of the College, says that the request wasn't included in the budget releases by the Pence Administration. It also wasn't in the budget bill already passed by the House.
However, he holds out hope. John Baugh, who follows the legislature for Purdue, says they haven't said no yet, and that's the most positive sign to hold on to right now. Akridge hopes it might be added in the Senate version of the budget. Final details and amounts will be hammered out in a conference committee.
Conventional wisdom says that the legislators are likely waiting until the release of an income report and projection of state expected revenues is released. That report is not due out until April 15. The legislature is slated at adjourn in the final days of April.
The money would help in three key areas, Akridge says. First, it would replace grant money no longer available to researchers that was helping fund several direct projects. It would also provide funds for several Centers of Excellence that Purdue Agriculture has established. These centers are already operating, but additional money would help them grow faster and become more relevant at a faster pace. The third area where Akridge would like to expand efforts is in research and development, plus education, for small farms and rural enterprise development.
A small farm workshop held at Danville recently drew about 250 people, he says.
"The other reality is that our federal funding has already been reduced, and we know we're going to get hit again," he says. "We need a way to replace that loss of income if we are to keep doing the type of research and education for applied and basic research that farmers and rural residents say they want."