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Barnitz applauds Gov. Jay Nixon for restoring University Extension funds
Barnitz applauds Gov. Jay Nixon for restoring University Extension funds

State Sen. Frank Barnitz
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Feb. 12, 2009) — State Sen. Frank Barnitz, D-Lake Spring, today applauded Gov. Jay Nixon’s announcement that he was restoring a majority of the proposed funding for the state’s university extension programs. The governor said the money left over from the construction of a newly-completed women’s prison in Chillicothe would be used to restore most of the proposed funding for extension programs.

“Families and producers in rural parts of Missouri rely on the services available at their local extension office,” Barnitz said. “Extension offices provide continuing education programs, 4-H Youth Development programs and they provide assistance for small business start-ups that are important to the survival of our small communities. Extension offices also serve as a link between university experiments and real world applications.”

University of Missouri Extension is a partnership of the University of Missouri campuses, Lincoln University, the people of Missouri through county extension councils, and the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Missouri's agriculture and natural resource extension programs operate under the overall themes of agricultural business management, integrated crop management/horticulture, livestock production systems, environmental quality, and natural resources.

The governor originally proposed cutting state funding to extension programs by $14.6 million, which might have cost as many as 200 extension jobs and millions in federal matching funds.

This week, the governor announced that $10.1 million from the interest earned on bonds issued to pay for construction of the women’s prison would be used to restore extension funding, but added he would still have to cut $5-million from the programs due to a budget shortfall.

“That’s still a pretty large cut, and I’m worried about which programs or services will have to be cut as a result of reduced state support for extension, but it could have been much worse,” said Barnitz. “In addition to offering programs and services for farmers, ranchers and rural residents, university extension also provides educational programs like budgeting and nutrition to people who live in our cities and suburbs. I hope that when the state’s economy improves, we can go back to fully funding this valuable program that so many Missourians have come to rely on.”

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