Legislative committees have been discussing funding proposals for the UC system. Within those talks, lawmakers are pushing to restore the full budget for UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR).
The Newsom administration initially planned to trim the UC ANR budget by nearly 13% in early 2020. Then the division took another hit as the state’s economic crisis deepened, losing $13 million in total. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s initial proposal for 2021 offers just $1.9 million to fill the gap, along with an additional $2 million for wildfire abatement work.
Now the administration and lawmakers have said they are negotiating a way to allocate the full $72.6 million before July.
Ahead of the pandemic, farm groups pushed for another $11.8 million to fill vacancies and improve service, owing to a long history of underfunding. It is unclear if the restored funding will be ongoing or a one-time provision.
During a hearing Tuesday, California Farm Bureau’s Katie Little said the cooperative extension assistance provided by UC ANR “is critical, as the state and consumers ask more of our farming communities, and we rise to meet the challenge.”