Study Finds Value in State Extension System

March 18, 2005 — Ohio State University (OSU) Extension is “purpose designed as an organization for producing positive economic and social impacts.”

This is just one of the conclusions from a study conducted by Battelle — a global science and technology company headquartered in Columbus, Ohio — reviewing the economic and social benefits of OSU Extension.

Keith Smith, director of OSU Extension and associate vice president for agricultural administration, said the state’s Extension program is the first to contract for this type of in-depth accountability study with an independent research institute. Extension requested the review by Battelle in order to quantify the effects of its work, following a similar report unveiled in 2004.

The results of the study were unveiled to Ohio legislators March 16 at an event sponsored by OSU Extension and its strategic partner, the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC), both affiliated with OSU’s College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Other findings include:

• Every 1% increase in agricultural output achieved through Extension programming brings $149 million in direct and indirect output to Ohio, $29 million in personal income for Ohioans, and 2,712 jobs.

• Farmers who read Extension newsletters report significant savings and profit generation. Readers of the Crop Observation and Recommendation Network (CORN) newsletter said they saved $11.3 million in pesticides, and readers of the OSU Grain Marketing Newsletter reported a $3.8 million gain by following marketing advice. Weed control recommendations from Extension increased corn yields by more than 2.5 million bushels (bu.) and soybean yields by 1 million bu.

• Extension’s nutrition programs reach thousands of youth, low-income households and families with young children with information on healthy eating habits. In surveys, more than 90% report a positive change in food choices and serving size, and 98% report an increased knowledge of nutrition.

• Every 1% decrease in food-borne illnesses as a result of Extension programming results in a $2.6 million to $5.3 million savings in Ohio, as a result of reductions to health costs and missing work.

• The 4-H Youth Development Program’s focus on leadership and integrity reaches 11.7% of youth in Ohio. If the program encourages just 5% of those members to receive a bachelor’s degree, more than 11,000 degrees would be earned, bringing those graduates $19,000 more annually than their counterparts who only finished high school.

• The 4-H experience also may keep students from dropping out of high school. Again, if 5% of Ohio 4-H members received their high school diplomas rather than dropping out of high school, the gain in their annual personal earnings would amount to $106.1 million.

• The 4-H program increasingly focuses on disadvantaged youth. For example, in partnership with Five Rivers Metro Parks, 4-H’s Adventure Central in Dayton serves as a hub for out-of-school programming through after-school programs, youth boards, clubs and camps. In 2003 more than 100 urban youth participated in Adventure Central’s after-school programming, and 117 youth participated in a seven-week day camp program. In addition, in partnership with the city of Cleveland and Cleveland Metro Parks, 4-H’s Youth Outdoors provides lower-income urban youth with the opportunity to experience outdoor recreation and environmental education programs. More than 2,600 youths participated in 438 Youth Outdoors programs in 2003.

• The Business Retention and Expansion Initiative has assisted more than 120 Ohio communities. In Putnam County, the program encouraged a company with more than 2,000 employees to commit to staying in the community for 10 years. Another effort resulted in attracting a business that created 130 new jobs.

• In addition to these effects as a result of specific programs, OSU Extension brings $159 million into Ohio through economic ripple effects of its work and its employees.

“This report illustrates how Extension has made and continues to make a difference in Ohio’s communities,” Smith said. “We have a presence in all 88 counties, ideally positioning us to improve lives, businesses and communities across our great state. We have helped farmers and other agri-businesses for more than 90 years. Although our roots are in agriculture, this report demonstrates we are much more than that.”

Deborah Cummings, Battelle’s project manager for the report, said the findings surprised even her. “Before I started on this project, I was not aware of the myriad of activities that Extension is involved in,” Cummings said. “The concept of what Extension was even 50 years ago has completely changed in comparison to what Extension means for the economy today.

“Extension is involved in a wide range of information-dissemination activities that have a significant economic impact, and that’s considering just our conservative estimates,” Cummings continued. “Extension empowers people to solve problems and improve their quality of life, and its substantial track record in impacting the economy of the state tells me it will continue to play a role as a driver of economic force in the future.”

To view the executive summary of Extension’s report, go to For OARDC’s report, visit
March 18, 2005 — The U.S. Department of Justice, on behalf of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), yesterday filed a request with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit asking that the court overturn the decision issued by the U.S. District Court in Montana that granted a preliminary injunction to delay the implementation of USDA’s minimal-risk regions rule. The rule would re-establish trade with Canada for beef products and live cattle less than 30 months of age.

A statement issued by USDA called the minimal-risk regions rule the product of a multi-year, deliberative, transparent and science-based process to ensure that human and animal health are fully protected.

For more information regarding this case, see Angus e-Lists Volume 5: Numbers 94, 97, 109, 126 and 132, which are available via the Angus e-List archive at

adapted from a USDA release

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