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Dean's Column (April 4, 2013)

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Dear Colleagues,

It seems that budgets are on everyone's minds these days. Extension faculty, staff and partners continue to express concern about the status of Extension's federal, state and grant funds. I have been in budget discussions at both the state and federal level, and I would like to provide you with an update on Extension's budget and financial situation.

On March 2, Extension had its Compact meeting with Provost Hanson during which we discussed our priorities and budget. We will hear the outcome of our University budget requests in May. In April, Extension center associate deans and administrative unit directors will prepare and submit their fiscal year (FY) 2014 budget requests to me. In early May, I will review the requests with Extension leaders and finalize the FY 2014 budget in June.  

We are preparing for reductions in Extension's federal funding. As you are aware, we received a reduction in federal funding for our nutrition programs. As a result of continued budget reductions at the federal level, we will be receiving at least a 7.9-percent reduction in our federal capacity funding (Smith Lever and other funds). Extension will also need to provide funding for salary increases as announced by President Kaler. Together, these will total an additional $3.5 million in costs for FY 2014.

Our current funding plan is to cover these costs from Extension's reserves. By covering these costs from reserves, Extension will not have to cut positions or programs in order to cover these additional costs in FY 2014. Thanks to our collective wise stewardship of public and private funding, Extension currently has the reserves available to cover these expenses. However, we will need to continue to diversify our funding sources and continue our efforts to obtain grants, gifts and fees to offer high quality programs that meet the needs of Minnesota.

We will continue to be wise stewards of our public and private funds, ensuring that Extension education and research provide the greatest positive impact across the state.

Thank you for all your efforts.

Bev Durgan

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