Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Help Save Penn State Research and Extension Programs!

The Penn State Ag Council is an industry advisory group to the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences and advocates for the college’s research and Penn State Extension programs.  These programs support Pennsylvania agriculture and communities and help keep Pennsylvania strong.

The college’s programs are currently at serious risk, and we are asking for your help to ensure they continue into the future.
The college’s agricultural research and Penn State Extension programs are funded through the state general funds budget, through the Land Scrip Fund, located in the PA Department of Agriculture’s budget.

This budget line represents the state’s commitment to the 150-year old land-grant partnership between Penn State and federal, state, and county governments.
Extension programs cannot be supported through tuition dollars.  Although there is strong support for the college’s Extension program at all levels of government, the Land Scrip Fund was part of the Governor’s line-item veto and is currently zeroed out.

If zero funding stands, it will have devastating impacts on the entire college - including the elimination of Penn State Extension and the college's agricultural research stations - and the loss to Pennsylvania of approximately $80 million of federal money leveraged by these state funds.
Flagship programs such as 4-H and Master Gardener would be discontinued.
If we do nothing these programs will likely disappear!
We are asking you to do two things to ensure this does not happen: 1) communicate to legislators and Governor Wolfe the importance of these programs in Pennsylvania and 2) request that they restore funding.  
You can do this in several ways:

1. Sign an online petition.

The website has information about the issue and a letter you can sign onto that will be sent to leadership in Harrisburg. Please take time to read and sign the petition so your voice can be heard.
You can also post comments on the site to relay why these programs are important. When you sign the petition you will receive updates from us on the situation and future calls to action. Currently we are approaching 10,000 signatures.

You can share the link to the petition on your Facebook and other social media sites, and email it to those you think would be concerned about this issue.

2. Call your local legislators (Representative and Senator) and legislative leadership.  A sheet of talking points is available by emailing  Find your legislator’s contact information here.

Phone calls are the most effective communications. Please consider calling the offices and politely relay your concerns.  Sample phone scripts are available by emailing

3. Attend the Pa Department of Agriculture House budget hearing on March 9th to “rally” and demonstrate strong support for the College and Extension, as well as other agricultural programs.
Registration is not required. Penn State Ag Council leadership will be in the Main (upper) Rotunda  of the State Capitol around 12 p.m. to distribute pins to wear to demonstrate support. The hearing will take place at 1:30 in room 140 Main Capitol.  Afterwards, we encourage attendees to distribute information, which will be provided, to legislative offices making them aware of the issue and the impacts. 

Please be sure all communications are respectful and professional and do not place blame or engage in the politics of the issue.
We are seeking restoration of the funding. It is up to the legislature and the Governor to determine state priorities and how to fund them. Thank the legislators for their support.

If you have questions or need additional information, please contact



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