OSU Agriculture Receives $9 Million for Infrastructure, Extension and Research

Members of the public attend a breadmaking workshop in the Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center at Oklahoma State University. The center will receive $6 million in state legislative funding for upgrades and improvements. (Photo by Hunter Gibson, Oklahoma State University Agriculture)

By Gail Ellis

The Oklahoma State legislature has passed a law to provide $9.5 million in additional funding to the Oklahoma State University Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. Signed into law in May, HB 2927 appropriates funds through the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry to support county Extension offices, ag research stations and the Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center at OSU.

The funding allocations address the growing need for updates and improvements at the Food and Agricultural Products Center while supporting off-campus personnel in OSU Extension and at OSU Ag Research experiment stations statewide. The critical discoveries and scientific solutions recorded at these facilities are the backbone of proven agricultural management methods and practices offered to the public throughout the state by OSU Extension.

The following funding increases were implemented on July 1.

  • Continuing salaries for off-campus personnel (all receive at least a 10% raise)
    • $2.2 million for county Extension staff
    • $.3 million for off-campus experiment station staff
  • $6 million (one-time allocation) for upgrades and improvements to the Food and Agricultural Products Center
  • $1 million (ongoing) for Food and Agricultural Products Center personnel

Starting salaries for Extension educators will increase to $41,000 for those with a bachelor’s degree and $45,000 for educators with a master’s degree. Existing salaries for off-campus personnel are targeted to improve retention and enhance recruitment.

“We appreciate the Oklahoma State Legislature for their support in enabling us to better serve our state,” said Jayson Lusk, vice president and dean of OSU Agriculture. “The ability to increase salaries for county Extension office employees and those who work at experiment station sites will address our greatest need by helping us retain excellent staff and recruit top talent. Additionally, the funding will allow FAPC to continue to be an innovative leader in food production, add value to Oklahoma agriculture and drive economic development in the state.”

The $9.5 million designation for OSU Agriculture is part of a record-setting $156.5 million budget allocation to the university system statewide in 2024. The funding will advance educational programming and research discovery in OSU Extension and OSU Ag Research while promoting STEM workforce development and One Health initiatives.

OSU Agriculture is dedicated to improving the quality of life of Oklahomans through science-based information and education. It is comprised of the Ferguson College of Agriculture and two state agencies: OSU Ag Research and OSU Extension.

Verified by MonsterInsights