Riverside County Board of Supervisors was persuaded to reverse its decision to drastically reduce its budget for UC Cooperative Extension from $674,064 to $112,000 on Monday, June 10th at its public budget meeting. The UC Cooperative Extension partnership with Riverside County is over 100 years old and has always been a highly productive partnership that provides a very high return on investment for the citizens as well as the economy of Riverside County. University of California has estimated that it invests just over $4 into the county for every $1 that the county invests. Those investments have been critical to supporting a wide array of public service and economic development activities that produce a thriving agricultural economy, better nutrition for families, and programs supporting youth development (including 4-H), efficient use of water resources, technical assistance for homeowners and natural resource managers and much more.
With a strong showing of 4-H kids who provided testimony to the Board of Supervisors, testimony from Ag groups and Master Gardeners as to what services UC Cooperative Extensions brings to the economy and community, the result was an impressive lesson of a successful partnership that has endured for over 100 years.
CCM attended the meeting and stressed the importance of the Master Gardening program with regards to ACP and HLB education. Master gardeners provide invaluable education to residents about their backyard citrus trees and the threat of HLB to California’s citrus industry. We explained the threat of HLB in Riverside (there have been two HLB finds in Riverside in the month of May alone) and the partnership that the citrus industry has with Riverside County. CCM is pleased to continue working with Riverside County and the UC Cooperative Extension.