Greene County News Report

WILBERFORCE — Central State University is in position to leverage its 1890 land-grant institution status thanks to some budget maneuvering in Columbus.

State Senator Chris Widener (R-Springfield) announced Monday afternoon the approval of state funds to be transferred out of Central State University’s Fiscal Year 2017 budgeted appropriations in the amount of $212,500 for Central State Agriculture Research and Development and $1,412,500 for Central State Cooperative Extension Services. The transfer of these funds allows Central State to provide the required matching funds for the 1890 land-grant federal funding.

“As a longtime supporter of Central State, I appreciate the work by Governor Kasich and his fiscal team to ensure that CSU is in a position to leverage all the federal support that has been set aside for Ohio’s newest land-grant university,” Widener said. “Extension services and research can now be planned to create jobs and serve Ohio families better with these funds.”

In 2013 Central State was named a 1890 land-grant institution, which put the University in a position to foster and advance programs in research, extension and instruction in food and agricultural science. The transfer of these funds by the State Controlling Board puts the university in a optimal position to leverage matching federal funds.

Because the state and federal fiscal years don’t match up, the state didn’t budget enough in FY 2016 for what Central State needed for a federal match, according to a spokesperson from Widener’s Columbus office. In October, the federal government will announce to the land grant institutions how much money they are getting, so the state moved the money to FY 2016 from FY 2017 to make sure there was enough state money for Central State to get the full amount of federal match dollars available.

Widener also announced state approval of $200,000 for the purchase of two agricultural easements through the Tecumseh Land Preservation Association. One of the properties is in Greene County, 585.168 acres at 2433 Wilberforce Clifton Road in Cedarville.

“The state of Ohio has a rich agricultural heritage that is worthy of protection, and we have a duty to protect our environmental resources,” Widener said. “These easements will help preserve the land for future generations of Ohioans and deliver on the promises made by the state through the Clean Ohio program. The Tecumseh Land Trust has done a great job with this program in the past and will continue to do so in the future.”

These properties will continue to remain in agricultural production and can be sold or transferred to different owners; however, the restrictions on non-agricultural use of the land remain in effect. The easements represent an agreement between the landowner, the Ohio Department of Agriculture, and the local community (county commissioners, soil and water conservation districts, etc.) to preserve the land for farm use.

Greene County News report compiled by Scott Halasz.