The University of Missouri’s 97-year old outreach program is trying to avoid significant cuts in services as its budget continues to erode. University Extension has taken a thirteen percent budget cut in the last two years, putting a strain on its programs. It has shifted some things to other parts of the University. It is saving $800,000 by ending partnerships with nine rural Telecommunication Community Resource Centers.
Director Michael Ouart says these things are being done to protect traditional areas–agriculture and natural resources programs, 4-H youth development, business development, community development, and human and environmental sciences. He says those are the programs people need and the ones they ask for.
He calls budget discussions in Washington “scary,” and hopes a 16 percent cut in federal funding proposed by the House doesn’t make it through the Senate,. Ouart says this is the first time in his career that all three sources of funding for extension programs have declined.