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June 11, 2003

To the faculty and staff of the College of Agriculture

I'm writing to share with you the actions that will be taken to address two budget challenges in the College of Agriculture. Both involve reductions in state funds for the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station.

The first challenge is an FY04 $897,000 budget reduction and an FY04 $1 million increase in costs for salary increases. The $897,000 is the Experiment Station's share of the nearly $7 million cut in state appropriations to Iowa State University for FY04. Although state law mandates compensation increases for FY04, the legislature did not appropriate money to cover them. The Experiment Station is required to cover approximately $1 million for salary increases. This is the fourth consecutive year the legislature has reduced its appropriation to Iowa State and underfunded compensation increases. The total impact on the university during this period of time is more than $68.8 million.

To address this FY04 challenge, President Geoffroy has approved one-time funds for the Experiment Station to help deal with the cutbacks. The funds will not extend to FY05. We will work with the President's office on approaches to avoid a situation in which the FY04 reductions would become permanent, and a serious issue to deal with a year from now. One thing we will be doing is to evaluate how funds are allocated within the Experiment Station.

The second challenge is an $829,000 budget reversion from FY03. This represents the last of four state budget reversions to the Experiment Station last year. The College was able to cover the shortfall during the past year with one-time funds, but now the cut must be finalized. Combined, the four FY03 reversions reduced the Experiment Station's base budget by almost $4.5 million.

To address this budget challenge, we are taking a different approach from the one taken over the previous three years of budget cuts. For three years we reduced funds across all departments, centers and programs supported by the Experiment Station. We felt that cutting our departments - among the finest in the country - yet again was no longer an option. The departments can no longer bear substantial cuts without putting them at greater risk for losing the ability to effectively educate students and address issues important to Iowans.

Last fall, at my request, a College committee began reviewing Experiment Station expenditures to identify potential budget savings. After lengthy consultations with President Geoffroy and Provost Allen on the severity of our budget situation and our options for addressing it, I am accepting the committee's recommendations.

Here are the actions I will be taking to address the FY03 $829,000 budget reduction:

  • Operations will be discontinued at two research farms - the Rhodes Research and Demonstration Farm near Rhodes and the Lauren Christian Swine Research and Demonstration Farm near Atlantic. The beef research at Rhodes will be relocated to the McNay Research Farm near Chariton. Swine research at the Christian Farm will be relocated to the Bilsland Memorial Farm near Madrid.

  • Funding will be reduced for Ames-area farms that support teaching and research in animal science, agronomy, agricultural and biosystems engineering and horticulture. The decision includes a reorganization that will transfer management of the Agronomy and Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Farm and the Horticulture Farm from the departments to the College. The decision also includes discontinuing operations at the Dairy Teaching Farm in Ames as part of the College's plan to consolidate dairy research and teaching programs into a new location.
  • Funding will be reduced for campus laboratory and service facilities, with increased reliance on user fees: the Soil and Plant Analysis Laboratory; the Electron Microscope Facility; and facilities in the Center for Designing Food to Improve Nutrition.

  • Support for some educational activities will be transferred to the College's general-fund budget or to other units on campus. Affected programs are the NASA Food Technology Commercial Space Center, Meats Laboratory, Horticulture Farm, the Interdepartmental Genetics Graduate Program; the greenhouses for agronomy, horticulture and plant pathology; and the Agronomy and Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Farm.

  • Funding will be eliminated for the Iowa State Water Resources Research Institute.

  • Several faculty searches will be placed on hold.

  • Costs related to the reorganization of the biological sciences departments will be deferred.

  • University administration will review a request to reduce utilities and maintenance charges assessed to the Experiment Station.
I pledge to continue working diligently with you, and with our university, community and state leaders and friends, to move forward on rebuilding the Experiment Station budget. Although we are reducing support to some farms, our goal is to strengthen the remaining facilities and to ensure that the vital work of educating our students and conducting research important to Iowans continues.

Thank you for your assistance and understanding in what is a difficult time for the College of Agriculture. Thank you for all you do in advancing the excellence of the College and Iowa State University, even in these challenging budget times.

Catherine Woteki
Dean, College of Agriculture

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Ames, Iowa 50011, (515) 294-4111
Published by: University Relations,
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