Legislative budget writers this morning unanimously approved a boost in the budget for the Agriculture Research & Extension Service, which Sen. Dean Mortimer, R-Idaho Falls, said is “a restoration of funds that we took away.” The 8.2 percent funding increase includes adding back 4.5 positions, bringing back several functions at the 12 research and extension centers across the state, and replacing one-time funds that temporarily patched the budget but have been exhausted. Specific programs restored include research in potato pathology and barley agronomy. Also included in the budget bill is $82,500 to restore funding for a full-time FFA coordinator. Gov. Butch Otter hadn’t recommended that funding, but had backed the other $1.5 million boost.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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