Legislature Leadership Announces Bipartisan Support for 4H

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Funding Restoration under 2013 Budget critical to Agricultural Community

MAYVILLE – Majority Leader Larry Barmore and Minority Leader Lori Cornell announced today that they will work together to encourage the inclusion of 4H funding in the 2013 County Budget.  The Leadership agrees with the correlation between 4H and our county’s economic future and contend that “zeroed out” funding in the current 2012 budget was shortsighted.

Cornell stated, “Support for 4H today is an investment in our local economy tomorrow.  I also believe that funding 4H says something about who we are as a county…what we believe to be our priorities and how we chose to cherish and preserve our strong agricultural roots.”

Barmore said, “Agriculture is the number one industry in Chautauqua County and I believe that training today’s youth to manage these farms and agriculture-   related businesses is vital to the economy of our county.”

Up until 2007, county government had annually provided 4H with well over $100,000 in funding support.  Then in 2007, the budget line was cut to $70,000 for the next four consecutive years, until getting further slashed to $25,000 in the 2011 budget.  Under the current 2012 Budget, funding for 4H was eliminated altogether.

According to Cornell, the urgency for funding reinstatement was brought to her attention by 4H families during this year’s County Fair and confirmed in subsequent discussions with Chautauqua County’s 4H Director Emily Kidd.  Without county support, 4H will eventually lose access to state and federal matching funds.

Cornell continued, “I think it is very important to note that as an organization, 4H does extensive fundraising themselves and depends upon the generosity of many area businesses and foundations for programming, projects and individual clubs.  I know there is often the misconception that 4H is simply one of the many quality youth programs we are fortuned to have in Chautauqua County, when in reality, 4H extends beyond such a definition and is really more of a development opportunity for our local agricultural industry.  There is also something to be said for the local economic impact of the feed and other provisions necessary for 4H youth to raise hundreds of animals each year.”

Cornell and Barmore plan to watch carefully for the status of 4H as the Legislature awaits the County Executive’s Budget proposal in the coming weeks and promise to be strong advocates for its inclusion.