Exceptional Item Request
Maintain effective agency and emergency response to retain funding support for statewide network:
- Programs, tools and resources that teach people how to improve agriculture and food production, advance health practices, protect the environment, strengthen the economy and enrich youth.
- Support for statewide emergency disaster response through readiness, response and recovery.
- Professional educators in 250 county offices, serving Texans in all 254 counties.
For more than 100 years, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service has helped Texans improve their lives through science-based knowledge. AgriLife Extension teaches youth and adults how to improve agriculture and food production, learn and adopt practices that improve health and wellness, protect the environment and strengthen communities. Our network of county agents has also been directly involved in Hurricane Harvey and wildfire recovery efforts. They provided a direct response to COVID-19 through online child care provider training, delivery of medical supplies, mobile testing and contact-tracing support.
Statewide Reduction Has Local Impacts
AgriLife Extension is a people agency with more than 95% of its annual budget invested in professional educators statewide.
A budget reduction below baseline funding severely compromises the agency’s ability to:
- Leverage funds provided by county governments.
- Provide local educational programming.
- Support statewide emergency response.
A 5% reduction results in a:
- Loss of 52 full-time positions statewide.
- Loss of an estimated $532K in leveraged county funds that directly support county personnel in local communities. Add this amount to a $2.4M loss in general revenue for a total reduction of $2.9M.
Reductions in the AgriLife Extension Service budget will reduce the agency’s ability to serve Texans with our work to improve human health, enhance economic and food system security, and strengthen communities.
- Loss of 26 educators
- Equivalent loss of leveraged county funds = $302K (estimated)
- Less response to critical issues facing Texas agricultural producers such as water and the environment, livestock and crop protection, sustainable production practices and CARES Act training
Health and Wellness Education
- Loss of 12 educators
- Equivalent loss of leveraged county funds = $132K (estimated)
- Fewer health and wellness programs, including nutrition education, disease prevention and COVID-19 response
- Loss of 8 educators
- Equivalent loss of leveraged county funds = $98K (estimated).
- Reduced opportunities for youth in 4-H, continuing professional development for county governments and AgriLife Extension volunteers
- Loss of 4 wildlife specialists
- Diminished ability to provide predator-control assistance and prevent wildlife-damage problems caused by feral hogs, coyotes and beavers
- Loss of 2 positions
- Diminished capacity to support educational programming and services
Rick Avery, Ph.D.
Director, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
Office of External Relations
Assistant Vice Chancellor for External Relations
814 Lavaca St. Austin, TX 78701