What communities in Ohio feel the most significant impact of new energy development? Rural communities with relatively low population density and little economic and social diversification experience the most significant effect according to research. Such communities are exposed to the long-term economic fluctuations experienced by natural resource dependent economies. They cannot easily absorb change and the development that has been associated with challenges related to social and family services, agriculture and land issues, and community infrastructure. How can we help? We can focus on increasing community capacity and enhancing education and training.
How is Extension part of Energy Education?
The decision-making phase of energy development can involve conflict and misinformation. Extension professionals in Ohio have provided research-based information to allow stakeholders and landowners to make informed decisions. Many times controversies centered on energy development are emotionally charged and often influenced as much by values, beliefs and social interaction as by dollars. By combining Extension’s wide expertise into one program, all types of stakeholders can be more effectively engaged.
How do Extension professionals work collaboratively?
OSU Extension has the ability to provide multi-disciplinary programming to inform landowners, stakeholders and interested community members about the social dimensions, economic issues and landowner issues associated with sudden energy development. The key to such efforts: working with stakeholders to design audience-specific programs. Multiple engagement methods are used as well as the formation of energy committees specific to certain topics to facilitate co-discovery efforts.
More information about Extension program areas working jointly on a common topic is available by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Submitted by Cynthia Bond, Assistant Professor and Extension Educator – Guernsey County & Crossroads EERA)
In most communities, people say that they care about their youth and believe that there should be youth programs. Another view is that young people themselves can shape the communities in which they live. Most youth are in some way affected by the community in which they live and they have much they can contribute to that community’s growth and prosperity.
Youth in Fayette County participated in a discussion on the future of OSU Extension in rural communities.
In Fayette County, youth are involved in programs such as Junior Achievement and 4-H Youth Development to stimulate lifelong learning of values and skills. Recently, the youth aged 14 to 30 were engaged in deliberating the future role of OSU Extension in communities like Fayette County. This effort focused on enhancing skills, building confidence, and fostering a sense of ownership to prepare them for what lies ahead. Among the discussion was the following:
- What are three words that would describe your community?
- What are the strengths of your current community?
- What are the strengths of the community you want to live in in the future?
- What are the resources needed to get the ideal community?
Participants indicated a desire for a close-knit group full of caring and giving residents ready to help others. They also thought the community (technologically, socially or within the government) needs to continue to move forward.
These fruitful discussions presented a significant opportunity for advancing Extension education and programming, and contributed significantly to the development of Extension programs and policies as it looks into the future. Also, a continuous engagement of the youth in Extension programs provides an opportunity for long-term involvement and ownership of community and Extension programs.
Brennan, M. A., Barnett, Rosemary V., Baugh, Eboni (2007). Youth Involvement in Community Development: Implications and Possibilities for Extension. Journal of Extension, Vol 45 (4).
(Submitted by Godwin Apaliyah, Extension Educator, Fayette County & Miami Valley EERA)
“Local Foods”… What does this really mean to residents of Ohio? As Ohioans, it seems we use words like these on a daily basis. But, do we really understand the need? Local Foods can aid in feeding a growing global population, projected to be 9 billion by 2050. We must produce more food in the next 50 years than has been produced in the past 10,000 years combined, all while tillable land is becoming less available.
In our ever-changing world, we want the freshest product available with the most economic value. Often, the solution is to meet local producers and buy directly from them. This helps the consumer to not only enjoy local food, but also learn of the economic, nutritional, and social benefits of buying local. Freshness is one of the benefits of Local Foods adding to the experience of the personal connection between growers and producers. According to the 2012 USDA Agricultural Census, Ohio ranks among the top ten states for direct sales to consumers represented by a wide variety of food products. Two resources available in Ohio to aid in the challenge of linking the producer and consumer are: Market Maker and Ohio Proud.
Many people are searching for ways to improve their quality of life by eating local food. Consumers now wish to become the producer, not only in the produce sector, but in animal agriculture. This enables the consumer to gain an intimate knowledge of the food source in a hands-on environment. From this there has been an up-turn in economic development strategies to market locally produced foods. Interest groups in many communities aim to increase the accessibility to items for both wholesale and retail customers. These groups are sometimes lacking one essential component… research-based information. OSU Extension is in a position to educate these individuals in raising and growing their own food, as well as in harvesting and storing their food products. This is an excellent opportunity for cross-program collaboration within our system.
In Clermont County, we are especially interested in combining efforts to produce a cohesive change. There are many tools available to aid in this effort. So, contact your local Extension office and get involved in the local foods mission. Be a part of feeding the world today.
(Submitted by Trevor Corboy, Program Coordinator, Clermont County & Miami Valley EERA)
Community and industry leaders often ask, “What is the economic impact of….”
- wind energy?
- a new business?
- a large event?
Take, for example, the Republican National Convention to be held in Cleveland in July. Organizers estimate that the event will draw about 50,000 visitors generating a direct economic impact of around $200 million and providing a significant boost to the state and local economy. Understanding the economic impact is essential in gaining local support for the event. It is also necessary for informing decisions regarding community investments in infrastructure, safety, or other support activities for the event.
Van Wert County, Ohio provides another example of economic impact analysis in action. Community leaders were preparing to undergo a fundraising campaign to raise $2M to develop and market a new industrial site. To make the pitch, they hoped to estimate the campaign’s return on investment in terms of jobs, wages, and spending and tax revenues benefitting the community. Partnering with Extension, the economic impact to the local economy was studied and the findings communicated. This step played a critical role in successfully raising the funds needed to develop and market the site.
A contribution analysis for a private sector organization is another way this tool can be used. In 2012, Extension Community Development conducted an analysis involving the Ohio Ethanol Industry to estimate the economic contribution of that sector in Ohio. The analysis considered both the operations and construction of six ethanol plants to estimate total output, employment and income impacts on the state. The information was helpful to the industry in planning for future investment.
The Extension Community Development Economic Impact Analysis (EIA) Program utilizes IMPLAN, an input-output modeling program, to generate customized analyses for both the public and private sectors. Reports range from a snapshot of the current economy to more extensive information on the effects that an industry change will have on a designated study area. Reports are based on clientele needs. Please visit our EIA Program page to learn more.
(Submitted by Nancy Bowen, Associate Professor and Extension Field Specialist, Community Economics)