Policy advocate at the California Farm Bureau Federation, Taylor Roschen, wrote a 736-word commentary, published in AgAlert today, praising the value of UC Cooperative Extension advisors and advocating for an additional $20 million annual funding from the state of California.
Roschen provided highlights of UC ANR's public value, writing that:
- The breadth and depth of agricultural knowledge created by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources is unparalleled.
- Local Cooperative Extension staff, such as farm advisors and community education specialists, serve as translators, sharing the power of UC research with our farms, our families and our communities.
- 4-H youth leaders are 3.5 times more likely to contribute to their communities and nearly five times more likely to pursue higher education.
However, she continued, since 1990, the state's contribution to UCANR has decreased by 57%. California has lost more than 60% of its 4-H advisors since the 1990s and now have the equivalent of only 31 program representatives to serve the state's 58 counties.
To bring UC ANR programs "back from the brink," Roschen wrote, the California Farm Bureau is working with Assembly Agriculture Committee Chair Susan Eggman, D-Stockton, to fight for UCCE's future and save 4-H and local farm advisors and specialists.
"We are petitioning the state Legislature and the Newsom administration to provide an additional $20 million annually to UC ANR," she said.