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Locke Includes Safe Food in Budget

PULLMAN, Wash. — Word that Gov. Gary Locke’s budget includes funding for the Washington State University Safe Food Initiative was welcomed here by university officials.

“We are very pleased to be in the Governor’s budget, “said James Zuiches, dean of WSU’s College of Agriculture and Home Economics. “This means the governor supports the Safe Food Initiative and that he has a commitment to agricultural research and agriculture in the state.”

The Safe Food Initiative asks for $7.5 million to fund 20 faculty and 20 technicians whose work university officials say will return $200 million worth of cost savings and improved productivity for Washington farmers and ranchers.

The governor’s budget, announced today (Tuesday) in Olympia, proposes state appropriations of $2.35 million in the second half of the 2000/2001 biennium.  That figure would rise to $4.7 million a year in future budgets.

Locke’s plan would require the university to reallocate $700,000 a year and for agricultural groups to provide $700,000 a year in new grants for the program.  In following biennia, university and industry contributions would have to total $2.8 million.

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