Cooperative Extension Budget
Business Affairs Realignment:
Departmental level staff will be consolidated into a Shared Service Center for all financial and human resource transactions bringing efficiencies to the college. By the consolidation of financial and human resource departmental staff into a single shared service center for the college, there will be a savings of approximately 10 SPA positions funded from Cooperative Extension funds.
County Operations – Agents, Program Assistants/Associates, Secretaries, Administration:
Field Faculty are the primary delivery mechanism for all programs of the NC Cooperative Extension Service (NCCES). The loss of 45 FTEs in Field Faculty and 3 FTEs in (paraprofessional) Program Assistants, as well as $529,556 in salary savings (gains from filling positions at lower salaries than the prior incumbent) represents an approximate 16% reduction in total staffing and salary line dollars for County Operations. This cut was taken from Field Faculty and program delivery staff to utilize already-vacant positions rather than reducing current staff; a reduction of current staff model would have resulted in a similar impact because the majority of our salary line is invested in Field Faculty. This reduction will result in the significant curtailment of NCCES’ ability to deliver critical agriculture, natural resources, community development, youth and family development, and nutrition programs to the residents of North Carolina. Approximately $1.5 million in matching county government support will concurrently be lost. In many cases, entire geographic and/or programmatic areas will not be able to be covered. With this large a loss, over 800,000 North Carolina youth, families, small and large business owners, small and large farmers, government and non-profit partners, and limited-resource citizens will not receive educational programs, information, or technical assistance by Field Faculty and over 600,000 citizens will not receive educational programs and assistance from volunteers trained and managed by Field Faculty. This equates to a $25.8 million loss of the value of Extension programs to the target audiences, with a corresponding loss of $2.2 million in the value of volunteer effort contributed. Over 2,700 individuals will not receive certifications that are critical and frequently mandatory to maintaining their job or small business, such as Pesticide Applicator Certification, Landscape and Nursery Certification and ServSafe certification. Further, there will be a loss of 16,465 non-degree credit hours delivered with 83,560 fewer residents having access to non-degree credit opportunities. Additionally, we are not filling one of only six District Extension Director positions, which will impact our ability to work collaboratively and successfully with new County Directors and their local Boards of County Commissioners and County Managers, a critical element of the success of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service. For citizens, this loss will result in reduced response time to manage critical geographic-specific issues most important to citizens. Finally, this cut will result in the loss of 16 administrative assistant positions that perform critical programmatic support duties to Field Faculty, fielding calls from citizens, providing important informational publications, and marketing NCCES.
Administrative Support Specialist/Associate, Research Specialist, Research Technician, IT Support:
The loss of 20.8 FTEs in SPA technical, information technologies and administrative staff support will significantly reduce or eliminate the ability of faculty in traditional and emerging agricultural commodity areas to develop educational materials, train Field Faculty, and in some areas, deliver educational programs directly to clientele and agribusinesses. Faculty will attempt to prevent the loss of Research Technicians by using grant, contract, and gift dollars intended for the operation of their programs. This action shifts the loss of additional FTE’s to the following year, when an estimated additional 3 FTE’s will be lost due to insufficient balances in grant and gift accounts. Most extension faculty programs by nature involve considerable travel and educational materials to reach the citizens of NC to enhance economic development of their communities. As such, services to individuals and many family farms will be reduced accordingly. These groups depend on extension programs to help them make a living, especially in difficult times. The other impact is that those entities providing the operating funds through grants, contracts, and gifts will see a much lower return on their dollar from NC State faculty, causing them to consider investing those dollars elsewhere. This action further reduces the operating funds of the faculty and hence the economic value provided to citizens. Research Technician positions are used as matching to leverage competitive grants and contracts. Without those positions, our faculty will be less competitive for such grants costing the University overhead and reducing the return on investment for taxpayers.
Many faculty programs will not be able to function more than three years on such a loss in operating funds. The outlook is down for grants, contracts, and gifts because of the economy and increased competition for grants due to budget shortfalls across the country. As a result, it is likely that many of the staff being converted to soft funding now will have to be RIFed in two to three years. For the reasons listed above, increasing the pool of grants, contracts, and gifts to continue their technician’s employment is not likely. Loss of technical staff support also reduces the ability of faculty to effectively acquire and manage external grants that support Extension’s educational programs. Overall, there is a downward cascade of events that will greatly reduce our services to our many clientele, especially our services to the state’s largest industry (agriculture) valued at $68 billion in 2010.
Extension Assistant/Associate/Full Professor and Extension Specialists:
The loss of 18.96 FTEs in non-tenure track faculty positions will significantly reduce or eliminate development and delivery of educational materials, training for Field Faculty, and programmatic contact with clientele. One Youth Development program will be closed, resulting in fewer growth opportunities for youth across NC. One major aquaculture program and laboratory will be shut down on campus. There will not be demonstration facilities on campus for a new and growing economic engine now worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Another extension program teaching growers how to manage insect pests on livestock will be nearly eliminated, resulting in reduced livestock productivity, especially on small farms. The Muscadine grape program will be merged with another, cutting by more than half the help extension has provided to Muscadine grape and wine producers. The economic impact will be in local areas in Eastern NC where few options exist for alternative economic development and entrepreneurship. Other programs similarly affected include those in Animal Science, Forestry, Poultry, Toxicology, and Soils. Some other non-tenure track extension faculty work directly under the supervision of an extension faculty member and hence the support they provide to NC citizens and the impact of their loss or movement to alternative funding would be similar to the case above for research technicians.
Others function independently developing and delivering extension programs and services to county-based agents as well as directly to clientele. These positions usually serve in unique areas where more direct and specialized interaction and assistance is needed with clientele. In other cases, they function very similarly as tenure-track faculty without the demands of the tenure process. As such, their direct educational and consulting services are often more intense and valuable than tenure-track faculty. These positions, like our extension faculty, are often working locally and directly with very strong influential NC State University supporters. Their loss of services may not be measured only in the dollars lost to their clientele. Non-tenure track faculty members acquire external support through grants and client contacts in program delivery. Areas impacted range from natural resources management, agriculture productivity and safety, and 4-H youth development. Program curtailment will impact local economies especially in areas of local foods, value added agriculture, youth at risk and family well-being. Total extension impacts in these areas have been documented in past years in the tens of millions of dollars.