NERCRD releases its 2022 Annual Report

February 1, 2023

NERCRD has released its latest Annual Report, which highlights the Center’s accomplishments and activities of 2022. We are grateful for the many opportunities to work with our regional and national partners in support of a strong and equitable rural recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges facing rural communities. We invite you to download the report for a comprehensive look at the NERCRD’s 2022 activities and impacts, and to reach out if you have any questions or feedback or would like a print copy.

NERCRD is hiring!

February 1, 2023

The NERCRD seeks applications for a one-year Non-Tenure Track Assistant Research Professor, with good chances of renewal, subject to funding. The Non-Tenure Track Assistant Research Professor will be responsible for conducting economic and statistical analyses on a wide range of rural development topics, as determined by the Center’s emerging needs and priorities. There is a strong expectation that this research will contribute both to the science base as well as to informing U.S. rural economic development policy.

Land-use webinar series offered by Penn State Extension

January 23, 2023

Penn State Extension is offering a monthly webinar series, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Planning Association (PA-APA), to provide in-depth information on land use topics affecting the communities of Pennsylvania, including current planning issues, land-use planning tools and techniques, and local regulations. This series benefits land owners, farmers, elected and appointed officials, developers, and community members who are involved in decision-making processes regarding using or preserving natural resources.

NERCRD annual meeting provides opportunity to reconnect, reflect, and look ahead

December 7, 2022

Members of the NERCRD’s Board of Directors (BOD), Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), and staff gathered last month in Newport, RI, for their first in-person meeting since 2019 to reflect on the Center's research and outreach accomplishments and to identify priority areas to guide its 2023 plan of work.

Catching up with Pennsylvania’s Coming Together for Racial Understanding Team

December 6, 2022

The team discussed how they adapted the Coming Together curriculum for Penn State Extension, the reach and impacts of their work thus far, and their plans for taking it to a wider audience.

Webinar: Dealing with Contentious Public Issues

December 2, 2022

This webinar, presented by Walt Whitmer, Senior Extension Educator with Penn State Extension, explored the changing landscape of contentious issues, how this evolving landscape affects our work, and some of the strategies available to us to navigate this new environment, regardless of program area or expertise. View the recording and related resources here.

Schmidt receives Roy C. Buck Award for paper on women farmers in the United States

November 16, 2022

Claudia Schmidt, assistant professor of marketing and local/regional food systems Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences and NERCRD faculty affiliate, is the recipient of the college's 2022 Roy C. Buck Faculty Award, which recognizes the best article accepted or published by a refereed scholarly journal in the social sciences within the past two years.

NERCRD is hiring!

November 15, 2022

The Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development (NERCRD) is seeking applications for a limited-term, Non-Tenure Track Assistant Research Professor/Associate Director position. The NERCRD is located in the Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology and Education within Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences. The Center’s mission is to work on and coordinate a broad range of issues with land grant universities and other partners in the Northeast as well as nationally in support of rural development. Read the full job announcement here.

Farewell to NERCRD Associate Director Dr. Jason Entsminger!

September 12, 2022

Congratulations to NERCRD Associate Director Dr. Jason Entsminger, who has accepted a new tenure-track position at the University of Maine. His last day with NERCRD will be September 14.

International Workshop on Agritourism draws visitors from around the world to the Northeast

September 11, 2022

More than 500 people from 56 countries gathered in-person and virtually for the International Workshop on Agritourism (IWA), hosted by University of Vermont Extension in Burlington, VT, August 30-September 1.

New data briefs examine COVID's impacts on Northeast economic activity

July 29, 2022

Two new data briefs in NERCRD's COVID-19 Issues Briefs series examine the pandemic's effects on Northeast economic activity. The first uses Gross Domestic Product data to summarize the impact of COVID-19 on the economies of the Northeast U.S., and sets the stage for subsequent briefs that will examine impacts in key industries and sectors. One sector-specific brief, focusing on the tourism and recreation economies in the region, also was released this week.

Tourism Activity Collapse During COVID-19 Benefited Rural Hospitality Employment

June 20, 2022

While the COVID-19 pandemic delivered a massive economic blow to the U.S. tourism sector, some rural communities benefited from the crisis in terms of employment gains, according to a team of researchers from the NERCRD and West Virginia University. Their study, which is the first to document COVID-19’s economic impact on tourism in the U.S. at the county level, may help guide the development of rural tourism and destination management strategies that enhance community resilience.

Webinar: Building the Capacity to Invest in Rural Prosperity

May 23, 2022

On Friday, May 27 at 12:00 p.m. Eastern, the Council on Food, Agricultural & Resource Economics (C-FARE) and the Regional Rural Development Centers (RRDC) are holding a panel discussion on building the capacity needed for impactful investments in rural prosperity. Panelists, including NERCRD Director Stephan Goetz and Associate Director Jason Entsminger, will outline recent trends affecting rural communities, the assets they have at their disposal, and the capacities they have and need to promote shared economic prosperity over the long-term. This webinar is the first in a series of events aimed at integrating findings from the RRDCs' Rural Development Listening Sessions Initiative and work recently published by the St. Louis Fed and the Federal Reserve Board on investing in rural communities.

New How-To Guide on Engaging Communities Through Issues Forums

May 12, 2022

Several members of a team funded by NERCRD’s small-grant program in 2017-2018 have recently published a guide that builds on their NERCRD-funded project and explores the use of forums as a community engagement tool in Extension work. The comprehensive how-to guide is designed to help Cooperative Extension professionals develop issues forums in both onsite and online settings.

Using tweets to predict real-time food shortages

April 12, 2022

The sentiments and emotions expressed in tweets on Twitter can be used in real time to assess where supply chain disruptions due to a pandemic, war or natural disaster may lead to food shortages, according to researchers at NERCRD, Penn State and the Hamad Bin Khalifa University in Qatar.

NERCRD Annual Report highlights activities and impacts

March 24, 2022

We are pleased to share our latest Annual Report, which highlights the Center’s accomplishments and activities of 2021. While this was another very challenging year in many respects, we are grateful for the many opportunities to work with our regional and national partners in support of a strong and equitable rural recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges facing rural communities.

NERCRD expands its tourism and recreation economies portfolio

March 17, 2022

An exciting development in the NERCRD's tourism and recreation economies work is the funding of two new projects, both led by West Virginia University, that will examine tourism and resiliency through the lens of the COVID-19 pandemic.

New Book by UNH Extension Authors Dispels the Myth that Rural Places Don’t Innovate

February 4, 2022

Twenty-six leading community development scholars and practitioners from around the country—including over a dozen collaborators in the Northeast Region—teamed up to publish a new book that explores how innovation manifests itself in rural places and ultimately contributes to entrepreneurial development and community resilience. The book was edited by Dr. Charlie French, program leader and Extension associate professor of community and economic development at the University of New Hampshire. Funding to support this effort was provided by the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development.

RRDCs kick off year-long 50th anniversary celebration with formal recognition from key partners

January 26, 2022

Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) and Experiment Station Committee on Organization and Policy (ESCOP) took formal actions recently to recognize the significant contributions of the RRDCs, which are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year.

RRDCs Release Findings from Stakeholder Survey on Priorities and Capacities for Rural Community, Economic, and Workforce Development

January 26, 2022

The nation’s four Regional Rural Development Centers (RRDCs) released findings this week from a national survey of rural development stakeholders. Conducted in the fall of 2021, the survey is part of a year-long Listening Session Initiative aimed at identifying key priorities and critical investments for rural communities’ recovery and growth.

Funded Ph.D. opportunity in recreation/leisure, parks, and tourism or related field (WVU)

January 19, 2022

The School of Natural Resources at West Virginia University (WVU) invites Ph.D. applications for a funded project (USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture) that aims to better understand tourism sustainability indicators as related to COVID-19 in rural gateway communities in eastern US.

Farewell to longtime NERCRD scholar, Dr. Sarah Rocker

December 9, 2021

Congratulations to former NERCRD Postdoctoral Scholar Dr. Sarah Rocker, who accepted a position as a National Program Leader with USDA NIFA, effective November 22. Rocker’s three-year tenure with the NERCRD ended on September 1.

NERCRD welcomes new members to its Board and TAC, and thanks outgoing members for their service

December 7, 2021

The NERCRD annual meeting that took place virtually November 4-5, 2021, marked a change in the makeup of the Board of Directors and Technical Advisory Committee as follows.

NERCRD 2021 Annual Meeting sets stage for 2022 plan of work

December 7, 2021

Members of the Northeast Center's Board of Directors (BOD) and Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) met virtually in early November to review the Center's progress towards its goals and adopt the 2022 plan of work. In the upcoming year, NERCRD priority issues are: labor and workforce development; economic development, resilience, and innovation; tourism; food systems and agriculture; and general capacity building. To support these issues NERCRD will also prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion; climate change; and rural-urban interactions as cross-cutting areas.

NERCRD selected to lead two projects under New Technologies for Agricultural Extension program

December 7, 2021

NERCRD was selected recently to lead two projects under the New Technologies for Agricultural Extension (NTAE) program. The NTAE program is made possible by funding from USDA NIFA through a partnership with Oklahoma State University and the Extension Foundation. In addition to funding, selected projects receive engagement and technical support from the Extension Foundation.

Food pantries essential for reducing hunger among middle-class in 2020

October 22, 2021

Food pantries, soup kitchens, and other community food services played a critical role in helping Americans meet their food needs, especially during the first five months of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new research by researchers at the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development. They found that middle-class Americans benefited the most from these services, demonstrating a key role these programs can play in times of crisis.

RRDCs launch national survey on rural community, economic, and workforce development priorities

September 20, 2021

The four Regional Rural Development Centers invite professionals working on issues of community, economic, and workforce development to participate in a national survey. The survey is the first phase of a listening sessions process aimed at identifying key priorities and critical investments for rural communities' recovery and growth. The process is being implemented by the RRDCs with support from the Extension Foundation through the New Technologies for Agricultural Extension accelerator program.

New NERCRD data brief shows household food insufficiency has fallen below pre-pandemic level

September 9, 2021

Following an initial increase during the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. food insufficiency rates have fallen to levels below those in the year prior to the pandemic. At the end of August 2021, and the beginning of Hunger Action Month, the national average household food insufficiency rate has declined to a pandemic-era low of 7.8% according to the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey. A new NERCRD COVID-19 Data Report examines these changes and provides detailed data for the Northeast U.S. states.

Choices magazine special issue focuses on COVID-19 impacts on Rural America

July 27, 2021

Choices magazine, which covers food, farms and resource use and is published by the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA), has just released a special themed issue on “Rural Development Implications One Year After COVID-19.” The issue contains eight peer-reviewed papers that explore the pandemic’s effects on aspects of rural life ranging from employment and childcare to recreational trail use and farming.

New Report: Craft Beverage Trail Collaborations in Pennsylvania—A Resource for Breweries and Destination Marketing Organizations

June 23, 2021

A new report examines existing beer trails in Pennsylvania and provides insights and considerations for those seeking to establish a craft beverage trail in their locale.