Pennsylvania Budget Cuts Threaten Agricultural Research

Like many other state in the nation, Pennsylvania currently faces large budget deficits. Republican Governor Tom Corbett’s latest budget proposal attempts to reduce deficit spending by slashing millions of dollars from the budget and cutting funding to a variety of sources. Chief among these budget cuts is funding from Penn State University. Penn State now faces a funding cut of roughly $180 million, or about 52% of their state funding.

Established in 1855, Penn State has been consistently ranked as one of the top fifteen public universities in the country.  Established as a land-grant school, Penn State also has an important focus on agricultural science and research. The university’s College of Agricultural Sciences, established in 1861, is one of the nation’s foremost agricultural education schools.

The College of Agricultural Sciences faces particular difficulties from Governor Corbett’s budget cuts. The various research and educational programs offered by the college are funded entirely by the state and federal government. None of their budget comes from tuition paid to the university. State farmers and researchers are concerned that these deep budget cuts could endanger agricultural research in the state, a necessary component of modern agriculture, and could hurt Pennsylvania farmers.

Pennsylvania agriculture employs roughly one in seven Pennsylvanians. While Corbett and other Republicans say that the budget is a starting point, county commissioners in Pennsylvania are currently scrambling to find extra money for the university.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer