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.

Call for papers: NAREA Pre-Conference Research Workshop on Advances in the Economic Analysis of Food System Drivers and Effects

December 14, 2017

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, in Philadelphia, PA.

Center-led food systems project issues several research briefs

November 10, 2017

The Center's signature food systems research project, Enhancing Food Security in the Northeast through Regional Food Systems (EFSNE), has issued several research briefs that serve to distill peer-reviewed journal articles authored by one or more project team members into 2-4 page documents intended for a general audience.

NERCRD funds three multi-state teams to advance regional collaboration and impact data collection

November 10, 2017

Three grant proposals have been selected to receive funding through the Northeast Center's 2017-2018 "Impacts of Successful Extension and Outreach Programs" award program, which was designed to help Northeast Land-Grant University faculty and educators document the impacts of their work while also encouraging collaboration across state lines. Twenty-two people from nine states are participating in the projects. Selection of the funded projects was based on the recommendations of a review panel.

Rural innovation grant program culminates in special sessions at North American Meetings of the Regional Science Association

November 10, 2017

In 2016, with funding from the USDA Economic Research Service (ERS), the Northeast Center established an award program that provided three teams with access to a new data set that allowed them to explore ways in which business innovation is happening in rural areas, and its impact on rural communities and regional economies. Now that the program has ended, members from each of the funded teams presented their findings in two special sessions co-organized with ERS at the North American Meetings of the Regional Science Association.

Engaging students in the First Impressions process at the University of New Hampshire

November 9, 2017

At this summer’s NACDEP meeting, University of New Hampshire (UNH) Extension’s Community and Economic Development Program Coordinator Casey Hancock described how she and her colleagues involved undergraduate student members of the UNH Planning Student Organization in First Impressions programming, which turned out to be a winning partnership.

First Impressions program is spreading through the Northeast and beyond

November 6, 2017

In 2015, the Northeast Center provided funding to West Virginia University (WVU) Extension and partner institutions to expand WVU’s First Impressions (FI) program into other states. We've launched a new web clearinghouse for FI training resources and reports from our partners who have implemented FI in their states.

Exploring the intersection of Extension, the farming community, and health insurance

October 23, 2017

A paper published recently in the Journal of Extension explores Extension's role at the intersection of agriculture and health insurance, focusing on current efforts, needs, and opportunities.

NIFA Listens campaign still accepting public comment

October 17, 2017

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) held several listening sessions this fall, and continues to solicit public input on the emerging needs and opportunities in food and agricultural research, education, and extension through the initiative, “NIFA Listens: Investing in Science to Transform Lives.” To share your input, follow the linked headline to complete a survey, or submit written comments via

New USDA reports explore rural innovation and manufacturing

October 16, 2017

The USDA Economic Research Service recently released two reports that explore rural innovation and rural manufacturing, respectively. The authors found that innovation is widespread in rural areas, especially in the manufacturing sector, and that manufacturing is very important to the rural economy, providing more jobs and higher earnings than other sectors like farming and mining.

"Field Guide to Ripple Effects Mapping" released

October 16, 2017

A new publication on ripple effects mapping— a "participatory data collection method designed to capture the impact of complex programs and collaborative processes"—was recently released by the University of Minnesota. Edited by Scott Chazdon, Mary Emery, Debra Hansen, Lorie Higgins, and Rebecca Sero, the 16MB PDF is available for download from the Minnesota Evaluation Studies Institute Program Evaluation Series. released by University of Minnesota Extension

Call for papers: Utilization of the Economics of Local Food Systems Toolkit

October 1, 2017

Have you used the USDA AMS Economics of Local Food Systems Toolkit? The Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development is soliciting papers from organizations and agencies that have used the USDA AMS economic impact toolkit explicitly and/or the principles articulated in the toolkit to evaluate local food system initiatives in their community, region, or on a national basis. The abstract submission deadline is November 30, 2017.

Position announcement: Postdoctoral researcher in the area of regional economic growth and development

July 28, 2017

The Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development (NERCRD) seeks applications for a one-year postdoc position, with good chances of renewal subject to funding. The postdoc 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.

Request for proposals: Impacts of successful Extension and outreach programs

July 11, 2017

The Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development (NERCRD) announces a new competitive grant opportunity that is intended to help Northeast (NE) Land Grant University (LGU) faculty and educators document the impacts of their work while also encouraging collaboration across state lines. Proposals will be accepted until September 1, 2017.

"The Economic Status of Rural America in the Trump Era" featured in Daily Yonder

July 7, 2017

The Daily Yonder is featuring a piece that offers suggestions for improving federal rural development policy without “breaking the bank.” It is an excerpt of a longer paper co-authored by Center Director Stephan Goetz; West Virginia University's Heather Stephens (who also serves on our Technical Advisory Committee); and Ohio State University's Mark Partidge.

Curriculum available for communities facing emerging behavioral health issues

July 6, 2017

One in five Americans experience behavioral health issues in any given year, and yet the signs and symptoms of behavioral health challenges are not always clear. Recently, Community Assessment and Education to Promote Behavioral Health Planning and Evaluation (CAPE) developed and administered a series of trainings designed to help communities address emerging behavioral health problems. The curriculum, which is available upon request, provides a valuable framework for community development and other extension professionals who want to play a leading role in helping communities address a broad range of behavioral health challenges.

America's "mental health literacy" measured in recent survey

July 6, 2017

The CAPE team, led by the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development, recently conducted a nationally representative web-based survey to evaluate mental health literacy along four dimensions: depression; anxiety; alcohol abuse; and, prescription drug misuse. Their findings are summarized in four infographics.

A community of practice for data analysis

July 6, 2017

Do you assist communities in using socio-economic data for decision making? Are you looking for better ways of delivering data to community leaders? Are you willing to share your best practices and resources with others, potentially influencing programming in other states? As access to data is becoming ubiquitous for communities, the role of many Extension and Community Development (CD) professionals has shifted towards helping communities interpret data for use in decision-making. A group of such individuals has formed, and they invite you to join their informal listserv.

Congratulations to our Northeast colleagues honored by NACDEP and CDS!

July 6, 2017

Several community development Extension professionals from the Northeast were honored by National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals (NACDEP) and/or the Community Development Society (CDS) at their joint 2017 conference held last month in Big Sky, MT, and we'd like to congratulate them on the well-deserved recognition!

Congratulations to Dr. Minghao Li!

July 6, 2017

Congratulations to Minghao Li, a Northeast Center research assistant and Penn State doctoral candidate who successfully defended his dissertation in Agricultural, Environmental and Regional Economics on June 1, 2017. Li’s dissertation research focused on intergenerational mobility and resulted in three essays.

"Placemaking as an Economic Development Tool" kicks off webinar series offered by Penn State Extension

July 6, 2017

How local municipalities can use an economic development strategy known as "placemaking" will be the topic of a web-based seminar offered by Penn State Extension on Wednesday, July 19. Presenting the 75-minute webinar from noon to 1:15 p.m. will be Brad Neumann, a senior educator with Michigan State University Extension. This webinar is the first in Penn State Extension's summer-fall webinar series.

Call for papers on local entrepreneurship and tourism

July 6, 2017

The journal Regional Science Policy and Practice is seeking paper proposals for an upcoming special issue titled "Local Entrepreneurship and Tourism: Policies and Practices in Peripheral Areas." The issue will explore the linkages between local entrepreneurship and tourism in order to provide an intriguing starting point for a wider reflection on the role of existing policies and of emerging practices in fostering local development in peripheral areas.

Small Business Innovation Research Program now accepting applications

July 5, 2017

The USDA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program is accepting grant applications through Thursday, October 5, 2017. Funds may be awarded up to $100,000 for a Phase I project. Proposed Phase I projects should prove the scientific or technical feasibility of the approach or concept. Projects dealing with agriculturally related manufacturing and alternative and renewable energy technologies are encouraged across all SBIR topic areas. USDA SBIR's flexible research areas ensure innovative projects consistent with USDA's vision of a healthy and productive nation in harmony with the land, air, and water.

USDA accepting rural community development grant proposals

July 5, 2017

Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) grants are awarded to help non-profit housing and community development organizations, low-income rural communities and federally recognized tribes support housing, community facilities and community and economic development projects in rural areas. Applications will be accepted through July 25, 2017.

Still time to register for National Extension Tourism Conference

July 5, 2017

The National Extension Tourism Conference is an opportunity for Extension professionals and others working in the broad area of tourism and recreation – including tourism service providers and businesses – to share programs, initiatives, research, and success stories, and to network with other professionals. Scheduled for August 8-10, it is taking place in Princeton, NJ, and is being hosted by Rutgers University New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension.

Analyzing farmer networks is focus of new training manual

May 19, 2017

A new publication in the Northeast Center's Rural Development Working Paper series provides guidance to Extension educators on analyzing existing farmer networks. Economic and social networks organized around local and regional food systems or value chains have the potential to increase traditionally underserved farmers’ access to the resources, skills and scale of logistical or distribution assets that are prerequisites for profitable expansion into urban markets.

CAPE project issues findings on signs and stigmas associated with prescription drug misuse

May 18, 2017

The results of a national survey that examined the signs and stigmas associated with prescription drug misuse were released this month by the Community Assessment and Education to Promote Behavioral Health Planning and Evaluation (CAPE) Project. The team reports that nearly 70 percent of U.S. individuals could correctly identify prescription drug misuse, but many didn’t know what to do about it.

Urban food networks featured in special-topic issue of Metropolitan Universities Journal

May 4, 2017

A recent issue of Metropolitan Universities Journal explores the role urban universities play in addressing food-system issues facing their communities. NERCRD Board Member Sabine O'Hara of the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) authored one of the featured papers, which describes UDC's Urban Food Hubs program.

Rural manufacturing resilience is focus of new report from USDA Economic Research Service

May 4, 2017

Rural manufacturing plays a significant role in the health of rural economies. According to the USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS), rural manufacturing provided "almost twice the jobs and three times the earnings that production agriculture provided" in 2011. A new report by ERS explores the factors affecting rural manufacturers’ survival, including size, location, goods produced, and access to capital.

School districts in the Northeast are most likely to serve local foods on a daily basis

May 3, 2017

The USDA's first Farm-to-School Census, which explored how frequently local foods were served in schools and which locally sourced foods were served more often, found that schools' daily use of local foods was most prevalent in the Northeast, according to a new report by the USDA's Economic Research Service.