Virginians, help save your Extension Service


Here are the details sent by Master Gardeners in Northern Virginia, but it applies statewide:
Budget negotiations and votes start this week. Proposal HB30:
Item 219 #2h did pass and is on the table to eliminate Cooperative Extension
completely in Fairfax, Arlington, Alexandria and Prince William and four other
counties. Emails to legislators is NEEDED.

WHERE'S THE FIRE? Cooperative
Extension JOBS would be ELIMINATED in Fairfax and Northern Virginia. Master
Gardener programs, 4-H, nutrition to low income families, financial literacy and
JOBS would be eliminated. (Info
; p77, item 219 #2h).

WHAT CAN I DO? * Save JOBS in 90 SECONDS: Click on
link. Cut/Paste message (KEEP Line 1, adjust rest if desire) into text box to
send to your state senators, representatives. To find & email your state
You can send more than once. THANK YOU in advance for your help!

Suggested message:

Subject: REJECT ELIMINATION of Extension
JOBS and Services

Honorable ____

I am writing to urge you to
PROTECT funding for Cooperative Extension and REJECT the amendment to the House
Budget Bill Item 219 #2h that would close eight Virginia Cooperative Extension
field offices, including the one in Fairfax County and the elimination of its
tremendously valuable services to the community.

Impacts and Costs of
the Proposed Budget Amendment: HB 30, item 219 #2H

The statewide
elimination of Family Consumer Sciences (FCS) and Community Viability (CV) will
lead to the significant reduction or total elimination of the following
non-state resources:

LOSS: Over $8.8 Million in federal grants,
endowments, and local partnerships.

COST: Over $4 Million in severance to
staff and faculty.

LOSS: The value of volunteers lost in eliminated urban
units is $1,580,646.

LOSS: The Fairfax office closure would lead to six
constituents to the state's UNEMPLOYMENT costs.

LOSS: The Fairfax 4-H
program staff of one reaches 5,968 youth currently. Collaborators include
Fairfax County Public Schools, Frying Pan Farm Park, Operation Military Kids,
and Volunteer Fairfax.

LOSS: To local Business: Horticulture education
classes for professional landscapers advance the Green Industry. Workshops and
Programs focus on pesticide safety and environmentally sound landscaping
practices. Food Safety programs to local restaurants and child care

LOSS: To Homeowners: Master Gardeners have contributed 27,635
hours and have assisted over 45,135 community members. "Healthy Weights for
Healthy Kids" and "Active Aging" are two of many programs for youth and seniors
health that would be eliminated.

Cooperative Extension's goals include
spurring economic development through entrepreneurship and community viability;
building and sustaining healthy communities; and agriculture. I trust that a way
can be found to achieve a balanced budget without sacrificing such an important
and valuable resource for our community.

I request that as our elected
official, you fight to urge the House and Senate to reject efforts to eliminate
Extension offices and


Extra Info: contact Angie Delboy, an Extension volunteer, or

The House and Senate budget process is now with a key group
of "Conferees" below. Please contact YOUR legislators. These are the key
negotiators from the House and Senate that will be coming to terms with a
compromise for the state budget that can ALSO hear your concerns to REJECT the
elimination of Extension. Negotiations start Tues March 2, 2010. Please SEND an
email NOW to your legislators and these below.

Charles J.
Colgan, Chairman (Prince William)
R. Edward Houck (Spotsylvania)
Janet D.
Howell (Fairfax)
Richard L. Saslaw (Fairfax)
Walter A. Stosch
William C. Wampler (Bristol)

House:Lacey E. Putney, Chairman
M. Kirkland Cox (Colonial Heights)
Beverly J. Sherwood
R. Steven Landes (Augusta)
S. Chris Jones (Suffolk)
S. Joannou (Portsmouth)


  1. At the Maymont Flower Show in Richmond, VA almost 2 weeks ago I included the Extension Service in each of my lectures.

    A Master Gardener thanked me after the show. Little did we know.

    It’s stunning what is considered SAFE to cut during a tough economy.

    Last year Georgia tried to cut what is paid to retired teachers. Ha, ha, ha teachers rallied. No cuts. So far.

    Thanks for this heads up.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  2. Unfortunately, this is the way things are going right now – just when folks need the Extension Service & Master Gardener programs most ! In Sacramento County (CA), the supervisors are debating closing the Fair Oaks Horticultural Center – a combination community garden & MG demonstration site, along with several other related sites. Too few folks realize the value (direct to them via the food they eat) of these programs !

  3. Same in Ohio, hanging by a thread. As is the Soil and Water Conservation Districts in the counties. The state gives them matching funds. Unfortunately, local government income is way done and these are two services that are not mandated by the state.

  4. I am sick over this, they are totally abandoning all urban areas and horticulture and will only sevice agriculture. As much as I am personally affected by this, there are worse cuts being proposed. If Gov. McDonnell has his way, he will gut $720 million from the public education, and make drastic cuts in health care and social services and close 4 state parks. Our roads and infrastructure have been under-funded long before the recession. I realize there is a budget crisis, but they only look at what can be cut, and never consider trying to raise revenues.


    VNLA and Virginia Agribusiness Council are keeping those of us who work in these businesses apprised…Stay tuned!

  6. Welcome to Marxist politics – destroy all private and local agriculture to industrialize it under state regulation. This is right out of the playbook, written so long ago. Sadly, the poor economy is only a convenient excuse for what has been a goal for a long time. Vote wisely.

  7. Not to get all political, but it’s far more capitalist than it is Marxist. Politicians tend to protect those who fill their coffers. Big businesses get a pass (along with lots of tax credits), sSmall businesses and those things that are helpful to their constituency (health care, elder care, education)? Not so much. They don’t see what Extensions (or Master Gardeners) do for a community, it doesn’t bring the big bucks into the campaign war-chest, so meh, off with their heads. Bottom line: does it make money and in return bring me money? It stays. Is it helpful but not a money-maker? It goes.

  8. thanks Susan–this is now getting passed around to master gardeners in the albemarle/charlottesville area–

  9. We had our county MG program cut by politicos from county/state that used it as a policital pawn. Little did they realize that MGs are not only passionate about gardening, but equally passionate about their program… and MGs VOTE. We were able to get the program reinstated and it now has a paid coordinator. Rise up Virginia MGs and get active…you can save your program! Thanks Rant bringing attention to this.

  10. Noncommital responses Thus far from legislators. Worse yet is proposal to cut all costshare for soil&water conservation best practices. You heard right: ALL, as in 100% of budget cut.VA thumbing nose at Chesapeake bay targets set by Feds and in process cutting job and expertise to get there. Support your local elected soil & water conservation district directors who work for free and their miniscule staffs by speaking up to your COUNTIES and VA who fund them. These are the people who review erosion & sedimentation control plans submitted by developers. No staff, no costshare for farmers, more mud, nitrogen and phosphorous in your streams #in.

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