Agricultural Research

  • Department level staff will be consolidated into one Shared Service Center bringing efficiencies to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS).  Due to the funding in CALS being among three budget lines (16030, 16031, and 16032), support positions are often funded from a combination of appropriated sources. Consolidation of business functions resulted in the elimination of 3.94 FTEs in vacant positions and the Reductions In Force of 3.98 FTEs from the 16031 budget line.  All human resource and financial transactions currently being performed in the various departments within the college will be processed centrally in the College Business Center.  Journal, vouchers, and transfers are a few examples of the transactions previously processed in the departments that will now be processed by the Center.
  • North Carolina Agricultural Research Service (NCARS) has eliminated support for the following programs: 
    • Nutrition and Health Programs at UNC-G (phase out over a five-year period). Immediate impact in FY 2011-12 is the loss of 1.02 FTEs across three positions.  This is a duplication of a program.  The program at UNC-G will phase out over a five year period.  The Nutrition Programs at NCSU will more than compensate for the loss of the UNC-G program.
    • Rural Sociology (effective July 1, 2011) 
    • Elizabethan Gardens (effective July 1, 2011)
    • Williamsdale Biofuels Research Center (effective July 1, 2011, center will be operated by the Biofuels Center of NC)
  • Life Science research is critical in meeting the biological and health research challenges in this century.  There is significant opportunity to grow extramural funding through federal agencies such as NIH and NSF, which when leveraged against state support greatly impacts the economy of our state and the health of our citizens. One example of the impact of this budget reduction is that a faculty position specializing in insect transmitted diseases will not be filled this FY due to the lack of funding for startup support.  There was not adequate funding to fund the necessary startup for the candidate.  Therefore, a portion of the funds are being used to fulfill onetime needs.  In addition, another faculty position in genetics vacated through retirement will not be filled. The college will lose two technical support positions (one vacant and another RIF) supporting life science research. Graduate student support will be reduced by nearly $42 thousand which is equivalent to two full-time assistantships. Since Research Assistant (RA) funding is used to compliment Teaching Assistant (TA) funding the impact will double to the loss of four assistantships.
  • Agriculture is a $70 billion dollar industry in North Carolina. It is our largest industry in terms of income and it is also our largest employer.  NC State’s agricultural departments will lose $1.58 million in state funding for their SPA and EPA staff.  This elimination of salary support will result in the loss of 3.21 FTEs in vacant positions, 8 FTEs through RIF and the transfer of 25.96 FTEs to non-state funds.  In all, 125 staff will have a portion of their salaries moved to grants.  Most of our grant support for production agriculture is provided by producer groups.  These funds are provided by the State’s farm community through voluntary assessments.  The funding level is sufficient to support a portion of the direct research costs, but insufficient to cover personnel costs. Therefore, long-term producer support of technical salaries is not sustainable. Additional losses in support positions are inevitable, resulting in significant erosion of research capability in the next three to five years.
  • Even though the budget reduction at research stations is capped at 10%, 6.5 FTEs in direct research support has been eliminated, 3 FTEs through elimination of vacant positions and 3.5 FTEs through RIF. This loss of personnel is particularly damaging to agricultural research because it is on top of the loss of personnel in departments. Faculty will lose direct technical support in their program and day-to-day research support at research stations will also be reduced. Therefore, faculty will decrease the scope of their research programs.
  • Faculty will support direct costs of crop production at Research Stations.  Faculty are actually doing.).  Faculty are providing 25% of annual production costs on a per acre basis.  This support can be provided by actually paying/purchasing supplies such as fertilizer or by soliciting in-kind donations of supplies and materials.  This requirement, coupled with reduced technical support at the project level and on the Research Stations, will result in smaller research programs and delay the development of new production practices and varieties.
  • Plant breeding, a significant core strength at NC State, will be the most negatively impacted thereby increasing the time it takes to develop new varieties for our growers.
  • Reduce Christmas tree genetics operating budget which would decrease research productivity.
  • Graduate education is a core strength of the Agricultural Research Service. Approximately 75% of the 350 graduate students are supported by grant funding.  Most grants are not large enough to support graduate students and technical support. Therefore, faculty will be forced to choose between paying for technical staff, post doctoral fellows, or graduate students.  The result will be fewer graduate students conducting research and eventually a smaller pool of professionals to support a growing industry.