4-H programs feel pinch as budget impasse continues

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Many more programs across the state are feeling the impact of the budget stalemate, including 4-H.

About 92,000 youth cross the Commonwealth participate in the program. It’s funded and run by Penn State Extension.

But as funding for Penn State Extension dries up, 4-H is in jeopardy of shutting down.

Penn State Extension is funded by state appropriations with the Land Scrip Fund. In all, that fund leverages more than $90 million from federal and county resources. Should state funding for Ag research and extension remain at zero, Penn State Extension offices statewide will close and all programs offered through those offices, like 4-H, will be discontinued.

The number of jobs affected state-wide could total more than 1,100.

March 13-19 is designated as 4-H week. Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding released a statement saying, in part, “Governor Wolf fully understands and appreciates how critical the 4-H program is to the future of the agriculture industry and our commonwealth. As a national organization, which is connected to the state’s land grant university, we fully recognize the significance of the 4-H program that provides hands-on learning through research-based findings to teach our youth to learn and lead through their head, heart, hands and health.”

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