Industry Exacts Price to Keep Idaho Ag Research Centers Open

December 16, 2009

Three University of Idaho agricultural research and extension centers slated for possible closure this month due to budget cuts will remain open through June following monetary pledges from industry groups. Last week, the state Board of Education accepted a $1.5 million offer from the J.R. Simplot Co. allowing the Parma Extension and Research Center to remain open for the next five years in return for up to half of the center’s 100 acres of cropland and other facilities for the company’s own research, reports The Idaho Statesman. University officials also announced additional industry contributions will allow two other centers facing closure in Sandpoint and Tetonia to remain open through June 30. The Idaho Legislature reduced the state appropriation to the Agriculture Research Extension Service budget by 11.5 percent in FY09 due to declining state revenues, and in September, Gov. Butch Otter ordered an additional 6 percent cut. The centers conduct field crop research to create more efficient processes for growers across the state. Read more at: