Members of the AgriLife community,
I continue to be amazed by the dedication and innovation you have exhibited during this crisis. The challenges posed by COVID-19 are unprecedented, but you all have adapted to ensure that our education, research, extension and service missions continue. I am grateful.
While our highest priority continues to be the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff, we must look ahead at upcoming challenges. Important among these challenges is the upset the pandemic has caused to economies around the nation. This week the Governor, Lt. Governor, and Speaker asked all state agencies to submit a plan identifying savings to reduce budgets by 5% for the current biennium.
The System has already taken proactive financial steps to conserve resources that can be called upon should the need arise, including a flexible hiring freeze. In anticipation of these budget shortfalls, AgriLife leadership has been working with agency directors and unit leaders to examine proactive measures to meet requests for reductions.
These will be difficult decisions for all of us. While solutions will not be one-size-fits-all, our decision-making will continue to be grounded in our commitment to transparency, accountability and excellence, guided by several key principles:
- We will prioritize our dedication to the land-grant mission of high quality and relevant education, leading-edge scientific discovery, 21st century outreach and service;
- We will maintain core strengths while building flexibility for the future; and
- We will creatively and strategically look at opportunities to improve needed services, eliminate outdated services and reorganize to improve efficiencies.
These guiding principles are top of mind as we consider scenarios that will ensure AgriLife’s success today and for many years to come. Over the coming weeks and months, we will further refine our budget reduction plans that best meet the needs of our organization, and the state of Texas. We will keep you updated as plans are formalized.
Once again, I continue to be proud of the adaptability, collaboration and creativity of the AgriLife community amid these daunting times. We have led the way in the fight against COVID-19. I am confident we will continue to lead the way and emerge a stronger, more resilient organization on the other side of this pandemic.
Thank you for your heroic efforts, your understanding and your commitment to Texans. Please stay safe.
Patrick J. Stover, Ph.D.
Vice Chancellor, Texas A&M AgriLife
Dean, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Director, Texas A&M AgriLife Research