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Purdue Ag Dean Holding Out Hope for Funds

Purdue Ag Dean Holding Out Hope for Funds
College looks for additional money to fund Centers for Excellence

While the Indiana Senate works on their version of a budget, the House has already passed theirs and so has Gov. Pence. Unfortunately, there is still some work to do to ensure all three parties are happy before April adjournment.

Purdue University's College of Agriculture is hopeful that the budget includes the funds they asked for – $3 million in each of the next two years, to allow the college to remain on a positive track and accomplish what it feels is important to remain a leading ag school.

"Part of it would be to replace funds we used to get from grants that are no longer available to our faculty," says Jay Akridge, dean of the College of Agriculture.

Students would benefit: Students like Joy Sheldon, ag communications, would benefit from funding to maintain the quality of ag programs, Jay Akridge says.

"We also have established several centers for excellence in various areas within the college. Extra funding would help launch these centers faster so they could have more impact sooner.

"Finally, we want to devote more funds toward the small farms and rural business development project that has been gaining support recently."

A small farms conference held recently at Danville, Ind., drew a good crowd, he notes. This is a group Purdue has not traditionally served to a large degree. Some of them are into organic agriculture; some are more in the mode of wanting to produce a niche product, like home-raised beef. Akridge believes opportunity exists to help that effort grow, but it would require additional funding.

"The truth is we're also going to see a drop in support at the federal level," he says. "That's not decided yet either. However, the House settled on a 5% decrease in extension and research funds. We're told it could end up as high as 7%. These cuts will be difficult to absorb without extra funding from somewhere else."

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