Hamilton County extension to be cut, big blow to small business and the green industry

Dear Co-Hort:

Many of you have heard that funding for Ohio State University (OSU) Extension, Hamilton County, is in critical jeopardy.  You may have also heard a number of possible scenarios; however, it is now crystal clear that unless some form of funding is secured, OSU Extension in Hamilton County will close its doors in January, 2013; for the first time since 1917.  Extension was established in the United States in 1914 and we are one of the oldest Extension offices to continually serve its county citizens.

What This Means:

There will be no horticulture programming by OSU Extension in Hamilton County:

  • No Tri-State Green Industry Conference (GIC).  Offered annually for over 70 years, the 2012 GIC had 375 participants, 25 educational sessions, 16 vendors, and 308 Ohio Pesticide recertification credits given.  Professional CEUs were earned by International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Certified Arborists, by Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association (ONLA), Ohio Certified Nursery Technicians (OCNT), and by Landscape Architects.
  • No BYGLive! Diagnostic Walk-Abouts.  Offered monthly for 16 years, from April through October, total participation in 2012 was 250 with professional CEUs earned by ONLA OCNTs, ISA Certified Arborists, and by Landscape Architects.
  • No CAPGIN [ http://capgin.osu.edu/ ].  Created 5 years ago to promote the adoption of green infrastructure in Greater Cincinnati through education, research, and the development of professional standards and practices, CAPGIN currently has 121 members.
  • No Master Gardner Volunteer program (and no MG Volunteering); continually offered in Hamilton County since 1992.  In 2012, Master Gardener Volunteers contributed 3805 volunteer hours and earned 965 continuing education hours.  The monetary value of the volunteer hours was $81,274 ($21.36 per hr., valued by the non-profit “Independent Sector”).
  • No local partnerships with our long-time partners including the Cincinnati Flower Growers Association, the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, the Hamilton County Park District, the Cincinnati Park Board, and the Hamilton County Farm Bureau; just to name a few.

The attached “Quick Facts” document provides further details on the impact of losing the OSU Extension, Hamilton County, Horticulture Program.

Of course, the loss of OSU Extension, Hamilton County, also means that no other emblematic Extension program will be offered to the citizens of Hamilton County including our signature nutrition and money management classes as well as 4-H; all 4-H youth who currently participate in Butler, Clermont, or other counties, but who live in Hamilton County, will no longer be able to continue in 4-H. The effects of our office closing are far reaching.

A complete coverage of all the impacts of losing OSU Extension, Hamilton County, as well as other important information is available under “Top Stories” on our OSU Extension, Hamilton County website:  http://hamilton.osu.edu/

Background:

Five years ago, the commissioners were unable to continue funding Extension.  Instead, they helped secure a contract through the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) of Greater Cincinnati to fund our office by paying for hours of environmental education provided.  On February 15, 2012, we learned that our Extension funding through MSD would be terminated effective March 1, 2012.  However, thanks to your help, funding was re-instated through 2012 with the understanding that new funding would be made available.  This has not happened.

Current Situation:

We will be closing in January, 2013, if a minimum funding target of $60,000 is not reached.   However, this funding will only cover 1 educator, 1 office associate, and office management; it would only allow minimal programming.  Our main goal is to restore our full annual funding budget of $355,000, either through the return of county funding or through donations.  A return to full funding would maintain our office as it stands; it would maintain the full menu of Extension programming that you have come to expect and to rely on from OSU Extension, Hamilton County.

What You Can Do:

Contact the Hamilton County Commissioners and let them know that OSU Extension in Hamilton County is a valuable asset to you.  Please describe how our specific programs have impacted you, your business, or your organization, and how detrimental it would be if OSU Extension did not exist in Hamilton County (see the attached “Quick Facts”).  Even if you are not a Hamilton County resident, please consider that the loss of our programs will have a regional impact.

Donate to our “Save Hamilton County Extension!” fund raising campaign (and get your tax credit for 2012!).  Any amount that you can give will be appreciated and your tax deductible donation will help OSU Extension continue to provide high quality educational programs for Hamilton County residents and youth.   Here are your donation options:

« Option 1:  Donate Online using your Credit Card

Quickest and think “CC Reward Points”

– You can donate online at www.giveto.osu.edu/hamiltoncountyextension

– This is a direct link to our Development Fund

« Option 3:  Donate by Phone using your Credit Card (also “CC Reward Points).

– Call the OSU Development – Gift Office:  614-292-2141.

– Make sure you give them our Development Fund number: 307913

« Option 2:  Donate by Mail by Personal Check

– Payable to OSU Foundation.

– Please write on the Memo line our Development Fund Number: 307913.

– Mail to:

Erin Holmes-Wingfield, Director of Development

Nationwide & Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center

2201 Fred Taylor Drive, Columbus, OH 43201.


CONTACTING THE COMMISSIONERS:

The Board of County Commissioners
138 East Court Street, Rm. 603
Cincinnati, OH  45202

Greg Hartmann – Chairman

Phone:  (513) 946-4405

Fax:  (513) 946-4404

E-Mail:  greg.hartmann@hamilton-co.org

Kellie Wise, Chief of Staff:  kellie.wise@hamilton-co.org

Chris Monzel

Phone:  (513) 946-4409

Fax:  (513) 946-4407

E-Mail:  chris.monzel@hamilton-co.org

Gena Bell, Chief of Staff:  gena.bell@hamilton-co.org

Todd Portune

Phone:  (513) 946-4401

Fax:  (513) 946-4446

E-Mail:  todd.portune@hamilton-co.org

Kathy Binns, Chief of Staff:  kathy.binns@hamilton-co.org


Joe Boggs

Assistant Professor, The Ohio State University Extension and

The OSU Department of Entomology
Commercial Horticulture Educator, OSU Extension, Hamilton County

OSU Miami Valley Extension Education and Research Area (EERA)