K-State Research and Extension
Alternate Revenue Streams
(Taken from the Guidelines Document)
In an era of increasingly tight budgets, it is necessary to consider alternative revenue sources and revenue generation strategies to continue funding quality programs and services. As we move to develop strategies for collecting these revenues, it is important to understand the original rationale for extension programming and to articulate a set of principles to guide the process.
The Cooperative Extension Service (CES), Agricultural Experiment Station (AES), and the Land Grant College System were established in an era when our society was dominated by small-scale agriculture. Incentives in the private sector for developing and delivering information on agricultural technology or practices were minimal. The CES was established as a means for farmers and farm families to learn modern agricultural technology and practices in an affordable, accessible manner. Improving the well being of individual farm families also advanced social welfare and economic development. Initially, few alternative providers were available for the kinds of information Extension and the land grants provided. As alternative providers for information on agricultural and food technology became available, issues of affordability of access for certain groups became more important.
Cooperative Extension programs and services are provided for the public good. Traditionally, programs and services have provided a general benefit to society as a whole or to broad cross-sections of that society. Early in the CES history, these programs were vital in maintaining food security in a rapidly growing nation. Farmers and ranchers were given opportunity for adoption and diffusion of efficient production practices within a largely agrarian nation. As the nation, agriculture, and the CES are maturing, much programming is still directed at providing general benefits to broad populations. The CES still provides agricultural production services, but has added resources to youth, family, and community-based programs, as well as educational services. These programs provide a public benefit through the enhanced social and physical environments in which we all live.
Social, economic, and political environments have also become more complex. The CES is asked to apply expertise gained through public funding to individual situations that may be very specific in scope and resulting benefits. In situations where the economic benefits of the CES accrue only to a small easily defined population, Extension needs to recover costs of providing these services. This needs to be done for two basic reasons:
* First, to assure that the CES can maintain quality public programming by replacing the resources utilized by more specific requests.
* Second, to assure that the CES is not unfairly competing with private providers of commercial services by providing a publicly subsidized alternative.
Within the USDA legal rulings and administrative guidelines, as outlined in a report to the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP), from the ECOP Personnel and Organizational Development Committee, dated October 2001, and the Kansas statutes that provide guidance for the conduct of county/district extension programs, it is the purpose of this document to help define the principles by which the CES can consistently recover costs incurred by responding to highly targeted requests while continuing to provide unrestricted access to high quality public programs and services.