Archive for Capacity Building and Facilitation

Rural Broadband Investment Urgently Needed in the COVID-19 Crisis

NERCRD COVID-19 Issues Brief No. 2020-6 – Issued jointly with the Regional Rural Development. By S.J. Goetz, H.M. Stephens, S.J. Rocker, R. Welborn, S. Turner, D. Albrecht and M. Skidmore, April 28, 2020.

Authors: Stephan J. Goetz, Heather M. Stephens, Sarah J. Rocker, Rachel Welborn, Steven Turner, Don Albrecht, and Mark Skidmore

Publication: NERCRD COVID-19 Issues Brief Series   Date Published: April 28, 2020

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Small and Minority Farmers’ Knowledge and Resource Sharing Networks, and Farm Sales: Findings from Communities in Tennessee, Maryland, and Delaware

A network analysis can quantify the depth and breadth of a farmer’s relationships with other local farmers, buyers and sellers, or other groups and organizations. Such an analysis can potentially also reveal farmers’ incentives, situations, and behaviors, and it may explain their economic success more generally. This study examines small and minority farmers’ networks using a primary survey in three farming communities. We emphasize networks related to production, marketing, and resource-sharing activities of 127 farmers (nodes) in Tennessee, 46 in Maryland, and 23 in Delaware, and compute three different measures of network importance or “centrality” for each farmer. We then use generalized least squares analysis relating farmer’s age, gender, race, educational attainment, labor use on the farm, and farm location to the farmer’s centrality position or importance in the network, defined by number and strength of links or connections. In additional regression analyses, we find significantly positive effects of the centrality position on farm sales of specialty crops: our model predicts that a farmer who adds one additional link or connection can expect a 19% to 25% increase in sales, all else equal. Our results can potentially be used not only to disseminate information more efficiently, but also to identify farm­ers who would benefit the most from more targeted extension services.

Authors: Aditya R. Khanal, Fisseha Tegegne, Stephan J. Goetz, Lan Li, Yicheol Han, Stephan Tubene, Andy Wetherill

Publication: Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development   Date Published: April 17, 2020

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Strengthening Economic Resilience in Appalachia

The economies of many counties and subregions in Appalachia have historically depended on a few dominant industries, such as mining or manufacturing. In recent years, Appalachian coal production has plummeted, resulting in devastating impacts on families, communities, counties, and states. It is critical to understand how coal-impacted communities can transform and diversify their economies and build resilience against future economic shocks.

Authors: Fritz Boettner, Evan Fedorko, Evan Hansen, Stephan J. Goetz, Yicheol Han, Christine Gyovai, Emily Carlson, Alexandria Sentilles

Publication: Appalachian Regional Commission   Date Published: February 1, 2019

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Network Analysis of Farmer Groups: A Training Manual for Extension Educators

This document presents the content of a curriculum prepared for extension educators and
others who are interested in conducting a network analysis of farmer groups. While the
emphasis here is on minority farmer groups, the principles discussed are universal. After
outlining how to conduct a network analysis and describing basic network concepts we use
primary data collected by the authors under a three-state Capacity Building Grant
led by Tennessee State University to illustrate how this type of analysis can be used
in a real-world setting. Learn how Delaware State University’s Andy Wetherill used the manual to support the formation of the First State African American Farmers Association.

Authors: Stephan J. Goetz, Yicheol Han, Erica Hildabridle, Lan Li, Fisseha Tegegne, Stephan Tubene, Andy Wetherill

Publication: NERCRD Rural Development Paper, No. 57   Date Published: April 3, 2017

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The Impact Indicators Tips Booklet

 A 38-page document written by George Morse, Charles French, and Scott Chazdon that explores practical and credible methods for using the "but for" rule to document Extension Community Development Impacts. A four-page introduction to the booklet is also available.

Authors: George Morse, Charlie French, Scott Chazdon

Publication: Published by NERCRD   Date Published: October 17, 2016

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State-Level Cooperative Extension Spending and Farmer Exits

Abstract: Numerous studies have evaluated the impact of Extension on farm productivity and related outcomes. Here we use annual data from 1983 to 2010 covering the 50 U.S. states to examine the impact of Extension on net changes in the number of farmers. The historical transition of farmers out of U.S. agriculture raises the question of whether Cooperative Extension and underlying Hatch-funded research spending keeps farmers in agriculture or accelerates their exit. On balance, nearly 500,000 more farmers left than entered agriculture over the period studied. We estimate that without Extension, as many as 137,700 (or 28%) additional farmers would have disappeared on net. Overall, Extension programs are a remarkably cost effective way of keeping farmers in agriculture. Alternatively, shifting just 1.5% of federal farm program payments to Extension would have reduced net exits over this period by an estimated 11%, or 55,000 farmers.

A related infographic (below) was developed to help share the findings of this research.

Authors: Stephan J. Goetz and Meri Davlasheridze

Publication: Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy   Date Published: April 19, 2016

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Land Link Programs in the Northeast U.S.

Test Excerpt: RDP53—This publication series includes two documents, including a program assessment and a list of Land Link programs in the U.S., as of February 2014. Written by Leslie Pillen.

Authors: Leslie Pillen and Clare Hinrichs, Penn State

Publication: Rural Development Paper No. 53   Date Published: February 1, 2014

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