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2012 in Review: Highlights of Accomplishments

Key accomplishments of the Northeast Center, part of a system of four Land Grant University-based centers with regional focus and national impact. This is an abridged version of the 2012 Annual Report.
NERCRD Grants and Food Systems Network

NERCRD Grants and Food Systems Network

The Northeast Center is part of a system of four Land Grant University-based centers with regional focus and national impact. Key accomplishments over the last year included the establishment of national networks of educators and faculty working in foods systems and agricultural economic development; three successful new competitive grant applications; and 20 publications and presentations made to various audiences, including the leadership of the Northeast U.S. Land Grant Universities on four occasions. In addition, research continued in the areas of understanding local job creation and self-employment, as well as balanced use of natural resources. This document highlights selected accomplishments. See the comprehensive Annual Report 2012.

Jobs and Entrepreneurship: Identifying policy levers to grow jobs

With on-going national concerns over job creation, the Center examined what roles the self-employed play in local economic development; what determines self-employment growth over time and space (including non-metro areas); and what options exist at the federal level for stimulating job growth. A Choices special issue was edited on the subject, featuring the research of TAC member T. Gabe. This research is being used by entities such as the National Association of Development Organizations.

An Extension curriculum on the role of self-employment in regional economic development strategy is being developed (with W. Shuffstall). An invited presentation on self-employment determinants and impacts was made to a national conference on Workforce Development organized by the Federal Reserve Banks of Kansas City and Atlanta. In a related podcast Dr. Goetz discusses findings of his research with Federal Reserve Bank economist A. Rupasingha and policy implications for communities. http://www.frbatlanta.org/podcasts/transcripts/economicdevelopment/121012_goetz.cfm

Food Systems and Agricultural Market Development

Community, Local and Regional Food Systems COP launched

This newest national eXtension Community of Practice provides resource materials, training opportunities and peer interaction for Extension Educators, community-based practitioners and individuals involved in job creation and other efforts related to food systems development. To join: https://www.extension.org/people/.

Competitive Grants Projects continue
Research, teaching and outreach activities continued during 2012 on our signature Global Food Security grant entitled Enhancing Food Security of Underserved Populations in the Northeast through Regional Food Systems Development, with a third year of continuation funding secured. Focus groups were held and the first consumer intercept surveys collected. Subcontract work continued with the University of Vermont (Liang, PD) and UMD Eastern Shore, Delaware State and Tennessee State (Tegegne, PD). Center staff contributed to original research on Food Deserts as an Equilibrium Market Outcome as well as the Impact of the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

New Study Identifies Optimal Food Distribution Center Locations
A new Center-supported study simulates how optimal food wholesale hub locations would change under scenarios of rising fuel prices, greater food processing scale, and increasing traffic congestion in the Northeastern Seaboard. This interdisciplinary work has attracted the attention of both engineers and social scientists.

Balanced Use of Natural Resources for National Energy Independence

The Center seeded the first regional conference on the development of the Marcellus Shale in 2010, and this has since become a self-supporting event. We also supported a conference in Summer 2012 organized jointly by Bucknell University and the Southern Regional Science Association. The Center continues to promote, develop and disseminate peer-reviewed research on the contentious subject of unconventional means of extracting natural gas.

New National Policy Center Formed

In collaboration with the three other Regional Rural Development Centers the Northeast Center secured competitive grant funding in the amount of $768,000 to conduct policy research. Guided by research and policy advisory boards, this new Center addresses policy questions of national significance in the areas of Farm and Ag Sector; Environment; Rural Families, Households & Economies; and Consumers, Food and Nutrition. Initial task forces are being formed on the subjects of Energy and the Environment; Food Systems; Inequality and Poverty; and Entrepreneurship. Peer-reviewed White Papers, Policy Briefs and Webinars are being prepared. The Center is called National Agricultural & Rural Development Policy Center (NARDeP) Visit www.nardep.info 

The two following charts list the grants and amount of funds brought into the Northeast Region recently by the Center, and provides an organizational chart showing integration among our various grants programs.

Table of 2011/12 NERCRD Collaborative Grants

Collaborative Grants 

*Total excludes core funding of $237,444

NERCRD Food System research, practice and policy networkNERCRD network

*Enhancing Food Security in the Northeast; shaded (heavy) circles indicate that The NERCRD leads the effort as PI/Director;
** National Agricultural and Rural Development Policy Center (funded April 2012);
+ Community, Local and Regional Food Systems community of practice;
ARD1890s: Executive Director, Association of Research Directors of 1890 Land Grant Universities; FALCON=First Americans Land Grant Consortium; GFS=global food security; PRC=policy research center; CBG=1890s Capacity Building Grant

NERCRD Website Ranks Near Top on “Rural Development” Google Search

During 2012 The Center’s website consistently appeared on the first page (among the top ten) of a Google search on the term “Rural Development.” On 12.15.2012 it ranked third, below only USDA RD and the Wikipedia RD entry.