As in most biennia, the Oregon Governor releases a two-year recommended budget around December 1, then participates in a legislative process that establishes a two-year budget beginning the following July 1. For the 2013-15 biennium, a new process partitioned the State’s general fund into seven funding areas. The OSU Extension Service was considered within the education funding area, along with the rest of higher education, the K-12 system and community colleges. The other two OSU Statewide Public Services—the Forest Research Lab and the Agricultural Experiment Station, were included within the jobs and economy funding area.

With leadership from the Extension Program Council, a process was developed to identify and prioritize issues around which we might seek funding to allow Extension’s growth. While it isn’t yet clear if new funding may come from the state, we are preparing to advance three initiatives. These investment opportunities have been reviewed by the campus-wide Outreach and Engagement Council, the Extension Citizens Advisory Network and Extension’s regional administrators and county leaders.

Here is a brief description of each of the three; for an expanded description of the draft, please click on the associated link.

Building Bridges to prosperity–Enhancing Oregon’s Extension Delivery (PDF)
This initiative identifies growth of Extension’s capacity to address critical natural resource and human health issues. It would seek to restore Extension’s statewide capability to address items of local concern in partnership with an array of public and private partners. The associated investment levels range from one million dollars to five million dollars.

Food Systems (PDF)
Food and it’s many dimensions helps to define healthy communities, people, planet and economy. Food is the “handshake” between rural and urban Oregon communities. This initiative seeks to identify and close gaps affecting food security and safety to build community capacity towards sustainable food systems. A spectrum of investment options range from approximately $500,000 to $2 million dollars.

Oregon Open Campus (PDF)
The basic premise of this initiative is to grow Extension’s 100 years of community-based education to serve as a convener of integrated programing among community colleges, K-12 and relevant community partners. Such and expanded partnership levers intellectual and physical resources to broaden an array of programs—both residential and online. Particulat attention is given to job skills, degree completion and the workforce pipeline. Investments into this initiative range from $560,000 to $4 million.

Your reaction and suggestions will help strengthen the case for funding. Please feel free to send your comments directly to me, or leave a reply here.

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