Colorado State University Community Outreach Agencies Announce Budget Reduction Impacts

Colorado State University Cooperative Extension and Agricultural Experiment Station will eliminate the equivalent of 45 positions around the state of Colorado as part of more than $34 million in state funding reductions for Colorado State University.

Today’s announced budget cuts for these outreach agencies are part of Colorado State University’s cuts of more than 27 percent over the last year and will reduce the base budget of both Cooperative Extension and the Agricultural Experiment Station each by $1.6 million in the upcoming fiscal year that begins July 1.

As part of today’s announced cuts, Cooperative Extension will eliminate the equivalent of 26 full-time positions through a combination of layoffs, reducing some employees from full-time to part-time and eliminating positions that currently are vacant. Twenty-three currently filled positions will be eliminated. In addition, administrative and operating budget reductions also will be made along with reductions to faculty support in five colleges on campus. Some employees in positions that were eliminated or reduced may be considered for other open positions within Cooperative Extension.

The position reductions or eliminations will reduce Cooperative Extension staffing in the 26 following counties: Mesa, Montrose, La Plata, Gunnison, Saguache, Mineral, Rio Grande, Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Eagle, Summit, Park, Douglas, Weld, Morgan, Logan, Adams, Pueblo, Crowley, Otero, Bent, Kiowa, Cheyenne, Prowers and Baca.

Cooperative Extension administration based decisions on university priorities, including Cooperative Extension priorities that had been identified by communities within the last few weeks.

The budget cuts attempted to mitigate the impact on critical issues in the state and on programs with the greatest impact in communities.

The reduction of $1.6 million from the Agricultural Experiment Station’s budget will cut research programs both on and off campus. Currently, 13 positions across the state in research centers and one administrative support position have been eliminated. About $900,000 will be cut from research on campus in engineering, veterinary medicine, applied human sciences, natural resources and agricultural sciences. This reduction eliminates support staff and research assistants, including graduate students. Funding for at least four vacant on-campus faculty positions also has been eliminated. The remaining funds will be cut from staff and operational budgets in the director’s office and at all research centers around the state. Elimination of additional positions could occur as the budget process continues.

Due to budget reductions, Mountain Meadow Research Center in Gunnison will be closed, and research staff at the Southwestern Colorado Research Center in Yellow Jacket will be reduced to one permanent position. The Mountain Meadow Research Center is a joint facility with the Colorado State Forest Service, and that agency’s activities will continue at this location.

Other personnel changes at research centers include position eliminations at the Arkansas Valley Research Center in Rocky Ford, the San Luis Valley Research Center in Center, the San Juan Basin Research Center in Hesperus and the Western Colorado Research Center in Grand Junction. The eliminated positions account for about a 25 percent reduction in staff working at off-campus research centers.

Where possible, priority research in specific communities was protected and decisions were based on the goal to keep as many research centers open as possible while still meeting research needs for agricultural production and technology and natural resources in different regions of the state.

Colorado State Cooperative Extension is part of a nationwide system mandated to share the latest research to help Coloradoans. Cooperative Extension specializes in health and nutrition, youth development including 4-H, gardening and commercial horticulture, personal finances, community resources, agricultural technology, food safety, helping communities address changes and conflict, family relationships and managing small acreages and natural resources. Cooperative Extension has offices in 57 Colorado counties that serve 59 Colorado counties.

The Agricultural Experiment Station has nine research centers throughout the state that conduct site-specific research on agriculture and related issues important to the state’s social and economic well-being.

Outreach agencies do not have the capacity to offset budget reductions with increases in cash funds, such as tuition.