Archive for July, 2010

LSU AgCenter Budget Update

Several of you have inquired about the budget reductions and how that could impact the LSU AgCenter. We still face challenges and your advocacy is important to keep us viable into the future. LSU System President John Lombardi directed each campus in the LSU System to develop a preliminary plan to address the anticipated severe budget cuts to higher education for the 2011-12 fiscal year. The LSU AgCenter was directed to prepare for a cut of 23 percent, which amounts to approximately $16 million. This anticipated reduction on top the cuts over the past two years equates to a devastating 40 percent budget loss for the LSU AgCenter.

While a reduction of any amount will inhibit the LSU AgCenter’s ability to fulfill its mission, cuts of this magnitude are catastrophic. The LSU AgCenter, by the nature of its mission, has the vast portion of its budget vested in personnel. This plan will eliminate 211 positions through vacancies and layoffs that reduce or cut programs and in some cases entire units.

For the latest complete information, click here. You can also go to the “Focus on the Budget” webpage here



The butterfly-themed Master Gardener Quiz Bowl Competition is scheduled for 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. at the butterfly festival in Haynesville, LA on September 11 with Robin Bridges, County Agent in Union County, Arkansas, as emcee.  There will be a panel of three judges to decide if an answer is acceptable and to keep score.  These judges will not be master gardeners nor will they be associated with any extension service, but will be knowledgeable about butterflies and butterfly gardening.  Each team will consist ideally of four members who can confer among themselves before giving an answer to a question; however, a team can compete with fewer members but would have a lesser advantage in conference. 

Choose a catchy name for your team and submit it and the names of the team members; there is no fee for entering.  The winning team will receive $300, second place $200, and third place $100.   For further information contact Loice Kendrick-Lacy. 

Loice Kendrick-Lacy, (870) 234-4910, loicelacy@att.net, www.claiborneone.org 

2011 International Master Gardener Conference 

Several of you have requested the date and location for the 2011 IMG conference. West Virginia University Extension Service and the West Virginia Master Gardener Association invite you to join them at the 2011 International Master Gardener Conference, October 11 -14 in Charleston, West Virginia. For full details, click here.

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Arc garden a growing experience for participants

Article from NOLA.com– Arc of Greater New Orleans, a nonprofit that serves adults with intellectual disabilities, isn’t new to the gardening world. In fact, both before and since Hurricane Katrina, the nonprofit’s “Vintage Garden” — an urban farm that produces herbs, vegetables and flowers — had already made a name for itself locally with its occasional sales of herbs and garden plants and its varying menu of fresh soups.

 But Valerie St. Amant, the Arc associate director charged with devising activities for participants in Arc’s “Individual Options” program, envisioned a different kind of garden altogether. Rather than an urban farm, she pictured a recreational garden that would be an outdoor laboratory to provide hands-on experience to Individual Options participants. “We always thought a recreational garden would be a terrific project for our IO participants, ” St. Amant said. “We were able to get a grant from Allstate to lay out the paths and infrastructure, but we didn’t have the staffing to create and maintain the garden.”

So when Master Gardeners Tammany Baumgarten and Piedad Scanlan contacted Arc, a United Way Partner Agency, to propose a collaboration at the organization’s Labarre Road location, Arc Enterprises director Nicole Blair funneled them to St. Amant Uptown instead. Baumgarten and Scanlan, both graduates of the LSU AgCenter program that recruits and trains volunteer gardeners, were invited to pay a visit to Arc’s Loyola Avenue campus and tell St. Amant what they thought was possible.

“We couldn’t believe the infrastructure we saw when we visited; it was beautiful, ” Baumgarten said. “Even though the greenhouse was filled with castoffs and the ground was weedy, we could see how much there was to work with. “We are always looking for new ways for the master gardeners to interact with the public and fulfill their volunteer requirements, so we recommend it to our membership. They embraced the idea completely.” Full story, click here.

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Super Plants 

What is the Louisiana Super Plants program?

  • Plant Promotion Campaign developed by the LSU AgCenter
  • Highlights reliable & beautiful plants with proven statewide performance
  • Promoted through LSU AgCenter’s Mass Media Campaign
    • Newspapers
    • Radio
    • Television
    • Garden Shows
    • Magazines
    • Newsletters

Where do I find Louisiana Super Plants?

  • Local Garden Centers
  • Feed and Seed Stores
  • Check out listing on SuperPlants website 

For more information,

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 AmpleHarvest.org has been working for the past year to enable gardeners throughout the United States to be able to donate their excess garden produce to local food pantries.   With nearly 2,300 food pantries now registered on AmpleHarvest.org, our efforts have up to now been spread across all 50 states.

However, we have recently shifted our efforts to be more focused on the Gulf region…. this to help the food pantries that are being increasing asked to assist people hit hard by the BP disaster.

We have been working closely with the New Orleans food bank to help urge more food pantries to register, set up a special Google AdWords campaign and landing page (http://www.ampleharvest.org/LP/LGulf2.php) to help inform both gardeners and pantries, and we will be shortly releasing a new press release to help spread this information.

We would like to work directly with you to help further promote AmpleHarvest.org to the Master Gardeners, the garden clubs, the community gardens and the gardeners in the state they work with.

Gary Oppenheimer

AmpleHarvest.org Founder/CNN Hero

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Posting from Dr. Paul Coreil’s (LSU AgCenter Vice Chancellor and Director of Cooperative Extension Service) LSU AgCenter Facebook discussion board on July 6th.

It has been a while since I have updated everyone on our LSU AgCenter budget challenges. This fiscal year (July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011) our shortfall will include a reduction of about $5 million in state support (cuts and unfunded mandates) and a continued dedicated tax revenue decline in dollars that support our programs. Additional budget challenges caused by the oil spill and associated job and revenue losses are also of much concern and could result in mid- fiscal year contraints on higher education budgets. That is the current fiscal year.

Next fiscal year (July 1, 2011-June 30, 2012), we have been told to prepare for a 23% state funding reduction primarily caused by the anticipated loss of federal stimulus dollars. When unfunded mandates are added, the reduction is even higher. That could equate to a cut of approximately $ 16-18 million for the AgCenter (over $8 million to Cooperative Extenstion and ). We are currently attempting to come up with a draft plan to cover these anticipated cuts through program reductions and elminations. This will be extremely challenging and, if implemented, could result in the reduction of programs and services to our clientele and to faculty and staff position supporting these programs. A general plan dealing with these cuts for all LSU System campuses will be presented to the LSU Board of Supervisors in July and, after discussion and review by the Board, a final plan could be approved by the Board in August or September. There has been some discussion about a possible continuation of the federal stimulus funding support for one more year beyond 2010-2011, however, this has not been approved to date. All is subject to change – we will keep everyone updated as more information is made availble.

Thanks to everyone for their continued dedication to the LSU AgCenter and for your support during these very tough times. As said in previous communications, the most proactive response to these budget threats is the continued planning and implementation of quality Extension programs throughout the state. And, just as important, the communication of these quality programs to community and state leaders.

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