UT asks help in ensuring 4-H Camp

The following letter was sent out by Ben West of the University of Tennessee asking individuals to help advocate for Hardeman County to acquire the Lone Oaks 4-H Camp center
 As you all know, we have been working to create a new 4-H Center in Tennessee to replace the Buford Ellington 4-H Center in Milan, which was closed and sold in 2009. We are now very close to acquiring a piece of property in Hardeman County, Lone Oaks Farm, to serve as the home of our new center. Lone Oaks Farm offers us the opportunity to create the best 4-H Center in the world, right here in Tennessee. This 1,200 acre farm will allow us to give kids unequaled experiences with agriculture, natural resources, science, and the outdoors. 
Going into the 2015 legislative session, this project was the #1 funding priority by the University of Tennessee and was Governor Haslam’s second highest funding priority for all higher education in Tennessee.  In recent days, however, it has become increasingly apparent that a number of legislators (mostly from within the House) are raising questions and concerns about the acquisition of Lone Oaks Farm. 
If you support the project to create a 4-H Center at Lone Oaks Farm, we ask that you contact your elected officials today by phone and speak with them or leave a message to indicate your support. Contact information can be found at: http://www.capitol.tn.gov/legislators/.   
 As you make your contacts, you may find the talking points below helpful.
•                 Tennessee has had a needs-based approach to determine higher education funding priorities for over 25 years, and it was through this system that the 4-H Center at Lone Oaks Farm was identified as UT’s #1 priority. Removing this project from the state budget sets a dangerous precedent of politicizing higher education funding.   
•                 Lone Oaks Farm was chosen as the site of our new 4-H Center after a three-year exhaustive process by a committee of farmers, community leaders, extension staff, and 4-H volunteers.
•                 Although located in West Tennessee, the 4-H Center at Lone Oaks Farm would serve Tennessee’s 170,000 4-H members across all of Tennessee.
•                 Lone Oaks Farm will allow Tennessee to have the #1 4-H Center in the world for substantially less than was originally estimated to replace the 4-H camp in Milan. 
•                 The Center will generate enough revenue to be self-supporting into the future.
•                 Over $4 million have already been pledged or gifted in private funds from across the state toward this project if acquired by the University.
We are very close to making this happen, but we need your help to ensure the approval of the purchase. Thanks for your support!
 Ben C. West, Ph.D.
Regional Director and Professor
Western Region