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WSU Extension survives latest round of budget cuts

WSU Island County Extension will do its best not to let the latest round of budget cuts hamper its staff from rolling out a new set of “Island Living” workshops for Island County residents that may prove helpful in today’s tough economic times.

“Staff, volunteers, community partners and the public have all been waiting as patiently as possible to learn how we would need to shift our gears,” said Judy Feldman, WSU Extension acting director. “There will be some major changes to our traditional programming that we will have to make, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t get this series up and running.”

The upcoming classes may hold the key for some hard-pressed families to stretch their resources.

Feldman also hopes to spread the word that program donations are not only welcome, but needed during these lean times, explaining that private donations are often “hit or miss,” she said.

Funding from Island County declined to nearly half of last year’s sum to about $100,000, she said. Although the amount of grant revenue (the Extension’s largest source of funding) will remain about the same, at $500,000, the drop in county funding hit the program hard. Feldman is the sole remaining full-time employee at the moment.

The “Island Living” class series begin Saturday, May 9, in Oak Harbor. A WSU Extension Livestock Advisor will teach a field class on the basics of raising a pig or two. The second class will cover pasture management. Both are designed for people who have little experience in commercial livestock production.

The following weekend, folded in with the 4-H Spring Show at the Island County Fairgrounds in Langley, three additional workshops will be available: “Chickens, Turkeys and Ducks, Oh My!” “Compost 101” and “Making Sense of Horse Nutrition”.

To sign up for classes, get more information or volunteer with WSU Island County Extension “Island Living” series, contact the office at 240-5558, or 360-321-5111, ext. 5558, or e-mail n.zaretzke@co.island.wa.us.

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