Purdue College of Agriculture Dean Jay Akridge saw the handwriting on the wall last summer. Federal funds for Extension were being cut, and will likely be cut more. To maintain the Purdue Agriculture program at the level Hoosiers expect, he sought extra money from the state legislature in the 2013 session, not necessarily to replace funds that might be lost, but to bolster initiatives that couldn't be done without aid from somewhere, and it wouldn't be coming from Washington, D.C.
Bob Kraft, lobbyist for Indiana Farm Bureau, Inc., says that while Purdue Agriculture didn't get everything it asked for, as is how the politics game is played, it did fare pretty well.
Akridge agrees. "I am very excited about the state's investment in our programs," he said in an exclusive statement for Indiana Prairie Farmer. "My thanks to PCARET advocates and all our friends outside the college who wrote letters can made calls on our behalf.
"I will look forward to sharing how we invest these funds to help move Indiana agriculture forward."
Specifically, here are requests and action from the legislature that affect Purdue Agriculture directly.
First, a $1.25 million increase for Crossroads/AgSEED money was approved. That means that funding increased 17% to a total of $8,492,325. It's an increase in the recurring line item in the budget for this purpose.
This fund supports research and Extension, such as Purdue Ag Centers across the state, the Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab, honeybee research, plus salaries for campus-based faculty and staff. There will be a specific investment plan for the extra $1.25 million outlined later in the summer, Akridge says.
County Extension received a 3.5% increase in Fiscal Year 2014, and flat funding for Fiscal Year 2015. This line item pays the state portion of county Extension educators' salaries.
Finally, the Animal Disease Diagnostics Laboratory received a million dollars for new equipment in fiscal year 2014, and a 3.5% increase in its budget for Fiscal Year 2015.