NERCRD researchers honored with two awards for research on nutrition and food security

November 27, 2023

Zheng Tian, Claudia Schmidt, and Stephan Goetz were honored with two distinct awards for their paper titled “The Role of Community Food Services in Reducing U.S. Food Insufficiency in the COVID-19 Pandemic,” which was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics (JARE) in 2022.

NERCRD honored with National Extension Tourism Partner Award

November 13, 2023

The award, given by the National Extension Tourism (NET) Design Team at its biennial conference in September, recognized the NERCRD for its contributions that have made a significant positive impact on the NET organization, including support of a strategic planning process and partnership on a project-accelerator grant.

Schmidt recognized with Emerging Leader Award from National Extension Tourism Network

November 13, 2023

Congratulations to NERCRD Faculty Affiliate Claudia Schmidt, who was recognized with the 2023 National Extension Tourism (NET) Emerging Leader Award for her impressive body of agritourism research and outreach programming!

NERCRD is hiring for Associate Director position!

August 29, 2023

The Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development seeks applications for an Associate Director position, which is renewable annually conditional on funding. The individual will lead the Center’s outreach-oriented activities in consultation with the Director. Learn more and apply online!

Resources from Northeast Digital Equity Summit now available!

August 14, 2023

The Northeast Digital Equity Summit, which took place September 19, 2023, provided an opportunity for land-grant University educators and researchers across the Northeast region to learn from one another and expand capacity for digital equity programming in the Northeast. Recordings and slides from the event are now available.

International Workshop on Agritourism 2022 Proceedings now available online

August 8, 2023

The International Workshop on Agritourism (IWA) 2022 Conference Proceedings is now available online. The publication is intended to increase access to the scholarship that was shared during the three-day conference, which was hosted by University of Vermont Extension in Burlington, Vermont, USA, on August 30 – September 1, 2022. It contains 26 peer-reviewed papers, which are grouped into nine topic areas. It was published jointly by the National Extension Tourism Network and the Global Agritourism Network, with support from the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development.

Digital divide hinders rural innovation, study shows

June 9, 2023

Cloud-based computing directly contributes to business innovation, but rural businesses lacking sufficient broadband capacity to access cloud services are missing out on their innovation-boosting potential, according to a team of researchers from NERCRD and the National Science Foundation. The findings can be used by policymakers and business-support organizations to foster greater opportunities for rural innovation.

Just released: Agritourism and direct sales fact sheets for all 50 US states

June 2, 2023

A new set of fact sheets provides comprehensive insights into the demographics of U.S. farms that offer agritourism activities or sell food directly to consumers or both. The fact sheets are available for all 50 states and are intended to help local decision makers, farmers, and the organizations that support them in their efforts to strengthen and expand agritourism enterprises.

Webinar Recording: Local Climate Action Planning—Penn State and Municipal Partners Implementing Together

May 31, 2023

This webinar, which took place on June 28, 2023, provided an overview of the Local Climate Action Program (LCAP), a partnership initiative of the PA Department of Environmental Protection, Penn State’s Sustainability Institute, Penn State’s Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering, and ICLEI: Local Governments for Sustainability. While this webinar described a Pennsylvania-based program and related opportunities for PA municipalities, it will also give non-PA viewers an overview of an innovative program that could potentially be replicated in other states.

Opening farms to visitors boosts nearby farms' direct sales, and vice versa

April 19, 2023

Farmers use many marketing strategies to diversify their incomes and stay in business. New research led by NERCRD Faculty Affiliate, Claudia Schmidt, suggests that two of these strategies—agritourism and direct farm sales—complement one another when they occur within the same community. The findings could help farmers and the local organizations that support them plan strategically for farm resilience and growth.

RRDCs Release Findings from National Listening Sessions on Rural Community, Economic, and Workforce Development

February 27, 2023

February 27, 2023—Today the nation’s four Regional Rural Development Centers (RRDCs) are releasing their findings from a comprehensive initiative aimed at identifying the critical investments needed to build community capacity and improve quality of life in rural America. Their report, Investing in Rural Capacity: Comprehensive Summary of National Rural Development Stakeholder Listening Sessions, can be used by a broad audience of practitioners, decision makers, and government agencies to inform where programmatic efforts and resources may be most effective in tackling key issues facing rural communities.

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.