Ohio’s ag industry as a key driver of continued economic growth in Ohio and across the region? Representative John Patterson (99th Ohio House District) thinks so. He recently shared his enthusiasm for Ohio’s agricultural industry as a key growth sector for the Ohio economy. Others in the northeastern part of the state have a similar enthusiasm as well.
Recognizing the importance of the agri-business industry, the Ohio Sea Grant College Program and Ohio State University Extension partnered with Lake County organizations to carry out a Business Retention and Expansion (BR&E) Program. Local partners included: the Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District, Lake County Development Council and Ohio Farm Bureau. As a result of this local applied research effort, the local partners and other community leaders are better able to assist ag-focused businesses in the area to achieve their growth objectives and to improve the overall business environment for Lake County’s agri-business industry.
As a result of the BR&E program, Lake County partners have learned that:
- Twenty-three businesses plan to expand, modernize or renovate their businesses; six of them plan to hire additional employees within twelve months. These firms will add between 53-150 new full-time equivalent jobs.
- 150 additional new jobs in Lake County could generate an estimated $155,551 in additional income tax revenue and could contribute an additional estimated $1,137,700 in personal income to the Lake County economy.
While attraction of new businesses is a highly visible activity in most community and economic development programs, research has shown that a community’s existing businesses account for up to 70% of all net change in local employment (and up to 86% in rural areas). The BR&E Program conducted in Lake County aims to:
- Identify and address concerns and issues of existing businesses by creating a value-chain of partners, including local and state government as well as private organizations and enterprises
- Identify opportunities to stimulate local job growth, and
- Establish and maintain long-term relationships among public and private entities associated in some way with Lake County’s agri-business industry.
Joe Lucente is an Associate Professor and Extension Educator for the Ohio Sea Grant College Program and Ohio State University Extension.