UW Extension’s Cooperative Extension program will cut roughly 80 jobs from the organization as the program has lost nearly $3.6 million in funding. FOX 25-48’s Abigail Hantke explains how the organization is dealing with the cuts.
“These are not fun decisions. We all at extension, I’ve been in extension for 36 years, we love the model we have, and we cannot afford that model.”
UW Extension Cooperative Extension is facing one of the largest cuts it has seen in years, affecting roughly 80 positions in the organization.
“This is the best job I’ve ever had.”
“There are lots and lots of details that go into a planning process when you make a significant change, and we want to do it right. And those changes are all interconnected and it changes how we invest in counties, how we invest on campus and how we invest in our own administration and our educational support.”
The cuts will result in fewer agents and a move from a county-centric model to a multi-area model, grouping 2 to 5 counties together.
“Agents will probably be shifting into a larger area or possibly to different parts of the state depending on where those openings are and if those agents want to move to a different part of the state.”
Each county would still have their own office. The new model would group Eau Claire, Chippewa and Dunn counties together.
As part of the cooperative extension, county agents are supported 60 percent by a university and 40 percent by the county. But with the new cuts, if a university decides to not support an agent, the county would have to look at how to support that agent 100 percent or if at all.
The cut results in 8.2 percent of UW-Extensions budget, which not all agents agree with.
“I just personally believe that the cuts were not necessary to begin with, and was got the best extension service in the country county based. Every county has somebody, and I just don’t like moving away from that.’
Abigail Hantke FOX 25-48 News at 9.