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2018

Study of Northeast food system advances understanding of regional potential
October 23, 2018
After seven years of analyzing a number of consumption, distribution, production, and other aspects of the Northeast U.S. food system, researchers from Penn State and 10 other universities and organizations have made significant gains in understanding the extent to which the region can increase production of certain foods, and potentially better meet the food needs of low-income populations in the locations they studied. Findings and outputs from the project, which concluded earlier this year, will be useful to food system planners, policy makers, researchers and advocates interested in advancing regional food systems.
R&D-heavy firms thrive in diverse economies
October 22, 2018
Companies that invest heavily in research and development are more likely to benefit from locating near dissimilar businesses, while companies that invest less in technology are better off near businesses in their own industry, according to new research by a team of economists. The findings can help business owners and policy makers design better business strategies and economic policies.
Rural and urban communities need different policies to boost economic mobility
October 21, 2018
The farther away from a city a person is raised, the more likely they are to climb the economic ladder, according to economists, who also found that community characteristics associated with upward mobility actually have different effects in rural and urban locations.
Poor mental health days may cost the economy billions of dollars
October 20, 2018
Poor mental health ranks as one of the costliest forms of sickness for U.S. workers and may sap billions of dollars from the country's income growth, according to a team of researchers including Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development staff.
Northeast Center welcomes two new members to its Board of Directors
October 19, 2018
There were some new faces at the Northeast Center’s in-person meeting of its Board of Directors (BOD) and Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) this year. Richard Rhodes III, Executive Director of the Northeastern Regional Association of State Agricultural Experiment Station Directors (NERA), and Bernadette (Bunny) Reichle, Northeast CARET Chair, each joined the Board of Directors for a three-year term.
Presentations explore land-grant university role in rural development
October 19, 2018
A special session of the 2018 Agricultural and Applied Economics Association meeting focused on the land-grant institutional capacity to support human capital and to cultivate economic opportunity over the nation’s vast rural expanse. Representatives of the USDA, the Regional Rural Development Centers, and other applied economists from the land grants spoke about recent successes and future challenges. The presentations are archived online.
New tool to help rural communities address the opioid epidemic
October 18, 2018
The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and USDA announced a new listing of Federal programs that can be used to build resilient communities and address opioid misuse in rural communities. The Rural Resource Guide to Help Communities Address Substance Use Disorder and Opioid Misuse is a first-of-its-kind, one-stop-shop for rural leaders looking for Federal funding and partnership opportunities, according to a USDA press release. Read the full press release and download the resource guide here:
University of New Hampshire (UNH) Cooperative Extension’s Community and Economic Development program launches newsletter
October 17, 2018
The UNH Community and Economic Development Update is a quarterly newsletter that includes stories about local community and economic development programs, information about upcoming workshops and events, and resources for new community and economic development topics.
Report: Residents of rural U.S. largely optimistic about the future and like where they live
October 16, 2018
A poll conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, National Public Radio, and Harvard University shows that rural residents like their jobs and say they are doing better than their parents—but worry about drug abuse and their local economies.
$500,000 grant to focus on how rural innovation happens, how to inspire more
July 12, 2018
A research team led by Northeast Center Director Stephan Goetz will receive $500,000 over three years to study innovation in rural communities and find ways for communities to support rural entrepreneurs.
Happiness helps football players do better, and it could help economies too
July 11, 2018
World Cup football teams with a higher proportion of players smiling in their official portraits have scored more goals on average in all group phases since 1970. The authors of this study argue that smiling is a reflection of confidence. Greater confidence results in a greater capacity to overcome complex situations and score more goals. Center Director Stephan Goetz and his colleague David A. Fleming-Muñoz decided to explore whether this same smiling-creativity link holds for entire societies by looking at the relationship between happiness and creative capacity. (Links to article published in The Conversation.)
Tourism and Extension: Opportunities to connect with National Extension Tourism team
July 3, 2018
Wineries, breweries, fall festivals, hiking, camping….these are just some of the joys of the great outdoors and the bucolic beauty of visiting a thriving farm. Activities such as these are important economic drivers to many business owners living in rural America, and represent an arena of potential for the Land Grant system. A national group of Extension-affiliated professionals is interested in creating best practices to better help rural communities develop resilient businesses and advance Extension work under the tourism umbrella.
Hot off the presses: Several newly published NERCRD analyses available online
July 2, 2018
From entrepreneurs' use of Twitter to the impacts of a popular Extension program, several newly published manuscripts co-authored by NERCRD staff shed light on a wide range of community and economic development topics.
Exploring the potential of industrial hemp in Pennsylvania
July 1, 2018
A multi-disciplinary team of Penn State Extension staff, faculty and researchers, along with NERCRD staff, worked together to create a new publication on industrial hemp production that explores the production practices, economics, and policies around this crop.
Beer and spirits: Supplying the craft beverage boom with local ingredients
June 30, 2018
Western PA has experienced a recent boom in local breweries and distilleries, but the supply chain supporting these businesses is not well understood. A Penn State Extension team including NERCRD Associate Director Heather Manzo conducted research in 2017 to assess current and future production levels and supply chain actors and to identify future potential for local and regional sourcing of ingredients. While the study focused on Western PA, some findings may be useful to other Northeast states.
Seeking feedback on economic analysis of Northeast states
June 30, 2018
In 2016, NERCRD Technical Advisory Committee Chair Paul Gottlieb launched a strategic planning effort on the Center's behalf aimed at understanding the economic development issues that are especially important to the rural areas of the Northeast. Last month, he took this effort on the road, sharing his findings at the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals (NACDEP) annual conference in order to garner feedback from state-based experts.
New USDA map explores what's working in rural opioid programming
June 29, 2018
A new interactive feature on the USDA rural opioid misuse webpage allows visitors to learn about actions rural leaders are taking to address the opioid epidemic.
Opioid programming webinars available online
June 29, 2018
The Extension Opioid Crisis Response Workgroup is hosting an ongoing series of webinars on Extension substance abuse programming that could be shared quickly across state lines and used to help address the growing opioid crisis. Although several webinars have already taken place, recordings and other resources are available online. Mark Skidmore, Director of the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development, is coordinating the working group.
Policy brief explores influences on local government decisions
June 28, 2018
As part of a five-year, multi-state research project, researchers at Cornell University conducted a national survey to learn more about how well informed Americans thought their local leaders were, how levels of trust might vary when the issues at hand are controversial, and what local leaders should base their decisions on when those issues are controversial. The researchers summarized their findings in a recent policy brief published by the Cornell University Community and Regional Development Institute. (Links to PDF.)
Rural America population once again on the rise, according to new publication from Carsey Institute
June 28, 2018
A new research brief titled "Domestic Migration and Fewer Births Reshaping America" was released by the University of New Hampshire Carsey Institute for Public Policy earlier this year and shows that population migration patterns "are reverting to those common before the recession."
National Academies releases proceedings from "Achieving Rural Health Equity and Well-Being" workshop
June 28, 2018
To explore the impacts of economic, demographic, and social issues in rural communities and to learn about asset-based approaches to addressing the associated challenges, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine held a workshop on June 13, 2017. This publication summarizes the presentations and discussions from the workshop.
Congratulations to NACDEP award winners!
June 28, 2018
Congratulations to our colleagues who were recognized with awards from the National Association for Community Development Extension Professionals (NACDEP) in Cleveland last month! Award winners from the Northeast include Michael Dougherty and Daniel Eades, West Virginia University (WVU), and Neal Fogle, Penn State.
Dispatch from Scotland: Reflecting on rural innovation and "food tourism"
June 10, 2018
Northeast Center Director Stephan Goetz traveled to Edinboro, Scotland this spring to attend the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) conference on rural innovation, where he learned about the UK's strong ties between rural development and tourism.
Regional workshops for Small Business Innovation Research program
June 7, 2018
Several trainings are being held throughout the US for potential applicants to the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program. The Northeast trainings are being held in Pennsylvania (Altoona, Lancaster, and Scranton) and in Moorefield, WV.
Investing in public education earns high marks for greater upward mobility
March 29, 2018
Investing in education may help boost economic opportunities for the next generation, according to a team of economists including Northeast Center Director Stephan Goetz.
Call for case studies: Innovative and promising practices in sustainable tourism
March 23, 2018
Case studies are a valuable way to synthesize and share lessons learned to create new knowledge and enhanced applications in practice. The National Extension Tourism (NET) Design Team is inviting submissions of case studies that highlight innovative and promising practices in sustainable tourism.
Heather Manzo joins NERCRD as new Associate Director for Extension
February 23, 2018
We are pleased to announce that Heather Manzo has joined the Northeast Center as its Associate Director for Extension, effective January 2018. In this role, Heather will work with Extension Educators across the region to identify opportunities for cross-state collaborations and sharing of programs, and will help document the impact of Community and Economic Development Extension programs across the region.
NERCRD 2017 Annual Report is now available
February 23, 2018
In 2017, the Northeast Center continued its work of growing strong, collaborative networks with our land-grant partners, numerous federal agencies, and private institutions. We worked on a number of research and outreach projects that reached thousands of people. Read all about it in our latest annual report!
Economic status of rural America in the President Trump era explored in newly published Center research
February 23, 2018
A paper titled "The Economic Status of Rural America in the President Trump Era and beyond" was published this month in a special issue of Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy and was authored by Center Director Stephan Goetz, Mark Partridge (Ohio State University), and Heather Stephens (West Virginia University). The special issue is a collection of papers around the theme “The Future of Agricultural and Applied Economics,” and is the culmination of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association Agenda and Priorities initiative. The authors review the current economic conditions of rural America and the current literature, in order to set the stage for future research aimed at developing public policies that support economic prosperity in rural areas.
Weather patterns, farm income, other factors, may be influencing opioid crisis
January 26, 2018
The overprescribing of opioid-based painkillers may be the main driver of the increased abuse of opioids in rural America, but new research by Northeast Center Director Stephan Goetz and Meri Davlasheridze (Texas A&M) suggests that other factors, including declining farm income, extreme weather and other natural disasters, may affect a crisis that is killing thousands of citizens and costing the country billions of dollars.
New collection of papers explores Northeast U.S. food system, community engagement, and citizens’ perceptions of “regional foods”
January 25, 2018
For seven years a multidisciplinary team of more than 40 researchers led by the NERCRD has explored the extent to which a more robust regional food system in the Northeastern U.S. could improve food access in low-income communities and improve the long-term food security of the entire Northeast. Now, in an initial collection of three papers published in the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, team members have summarized some of their findings.
Supply chain case studies explore how supermarkets source foods for low-income customers
January 25, 2018
For the first time, researchers at Cornell University have analyzed where Northeast supermarkets source the foods they sell to their low-income customers. These case studies offer policymakers a better understanding of how regional food systems could bring healthier food to low-income people in the Northeast. They were conducted as part of the NERCRD-led project, Enhancing Food Security in the Northeast through Regional Food Systems (EFSNE).
New study explores intersection of health insurance and national farm policy
January 24, 2018
A first-of-its-kind study looking at the intersection of health insurance and agriculture sheds light on a “Catch-22” situation that many farmers know all too well: while having health insurance is a critical risk-management strategy, the cost of health insurance and out-of-pocket health care costs can be burdensome to farm families and may limit investments in farm enterprises. The findings have important and timely policy implications, as lawmakers are debating both the 2018 Farm Bill and health insurance policy.
Save the date: NAREA pre-conference research workshop on "Advances in the Economic Analysis of Food System Drivers and Effects"
January 24, 2018
The 2018 Northeast Agricultural and Resource Economics Association (NAREA) pre-conference workshop, co-sponsored by the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development, will be held on June 9-10, 2018, just prior to the NAREA conference taking place June 10-12 in Philadelphia, PA. This pre-conference workshop will highlight recent advances in the economic analysis of food systems in the U.S. as well as globally.
Tourism research from West Virginia University recognized with award
January 23, 2018
A recently published paper by Douglas Arbogast and Megan Smith (WVU) was recognized as outstanding by members of the Tourism and Leisure Studies Research Network. Arbogast's tourism research also was published in the journal Sustainability.
Two new reports highlight impact of USDA Economic Research Service
January 18, 2018
The mission of USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS) is to anticipate trends and emerging issues in agriculture, food, the environment, and rural America and to conduct high-quality, objective economic research to inform and enhance public and private decision making. Two new reports highlight how ERS research is used on the ground.
Save the date: National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals 2018 conference
January 15, 2018
The National Association for Community Development Extension Professionals (NACDEP) will be holding its annual conference in Cleveland, OH, June 10-13, 2018. This year's conference theme is "Communities that Rock."
Extension Disaster Education Network adds community development resources
January 15, 2018
The Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) invites you to explore its new website and programming resources. EDEN Community and Economic Development (CED) delegates have expanded resources for communities as they prepare for, recover from, and mitigate disasters.
"Urban Agriculture: A Guide for Municipalities" published by University of Pittsburgh
January 13, 2018
"Urban Agriculture: A Guide for Municipalities" was developed through a partnership between the University of Pittsburgh Institute of Politics and the Allegheny County Conservation District, with help from several local and regional partners. The guide describes the benefits of urban agriculture and its many activities for healthy, vibrant communities, and walks the reader through how these activities can be properly and legally permitted through changes to local zoning ordinances. (Links to PDF)
Penn State Extension hiring Applied Research, Community and Economic Development Educator
January 12, 2018
The Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences is seeking an individual trained in agricultural economics, demography, sociology, rural sociology, geography, economic and community development, and/or related field to join its nationally recognized Energy, Business & Community Vitality Unit within Penn State Extension. The individual will provide applied research support to Penn State Extension’s Energy, Business and Community Vitality Unit, connecting local opportunities and challenges associated with community, economic, and agricultural business development to sound science.