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Extension, experiment station facing budget trouble
February 18, 2005
group of more than 20 men gathered around a phone at
the Klamath Extension Service office Thursday
morning hoping for an answer to a staffing problem
that faces the master gardener program in Klamath
The answer from the
other end of the line was, "no answer yet."
problems, complicated by federal budget changes,
leave the details of future of staffing at the
Extension and the Klamath Experiment Station in
doubt. Out of four Extension agents in Klamath
Falls, three are in line to retire by the end of
Grain farmer Sam Henzel
said a potential misconception of the master
gardener program is that master gardeners are looked
at as not being a part of commercial gardening, when
in fact it supports the viability of nursery product
Answers about staffing
may not come until the fall when the state budget is
finalized. And Hatch funds - monies distributed by
the federal government to fund agricultural
experiment stations - could also figure into the
staffing equation if they are cut. Hatch funds
provide 15 to 20 percent of the experiment station's
funding, said Ken Rykbost, supervisor of the Klamath
"We've had some good
building, but also some setbacks. We're looking at
being right at holding the line," Brown said.
A handful of ideas for
solutions to the funding problem were offered:
lobbying state and federal lawmakers, finding more
sources of money and combining the sites for the
Extension Service and the experiment station in
"Ask legislators to
come to bat for us. County commissioners should use
what leverage they have statewide," Rykbost said.
"I'd be glad to carry
that and get it up to our representatives," Brown
said. "A lot of programs will be affected by losing
one, maybe two positions. This will have a big
effect on our community."
Potential funding from
the Natural Resource Conservation Service and
Environmental Quality Incentives Program were also
"In the ideal world
we'd have this facility out at the farm," said
Locke, noting there are houses at the experiment
station on Washburn Way that could be converted into
"We have to accept the
responsibility that there won't be funding for the
programs we hold dear to our hearts," Henzel said.
"It means stepping up and paying for it by ourselves."
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