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Agritourism and Direct Sales Clusters in the United States

Agritourism and direct-to-consumer sales are increasingly used as diversification strategies to generate additional farm revenue streams. Yet despite their growing importance, the impacts, interactions, and adoption of these strategies remain poorly understood. Here we use univariate and bivariate local Moran’s I statistics to identify agritourism and direct-to-consumer sales hotspots in the United States and a Seemingly-Unrelated-Regression Spatial Durbin Model to examine the association between agritourism and direct farm sales to consumers. We find that agritourism and direct sales reinforce each other within the same county but not consistently across neighboring counties.

Authors: Claudia Schmidt, Zheng Tian, Lisa Chase, Chadley Hollas and Stephan J. Goetz

Publication: Agricultural and Resource Economics Review Date Published: April 17, 2023

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Rural US Residents Recognize Anxiety Better than Urbanites and Suburbanites but Hold Similar Stigma

Recognizing signs of psychological distress is a critical first step in assisting people who are struggling with poor mental health to access help. However, community-level factors that impact recognition and stigma are underexplored. The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between rurality, other community-level variables, and individual variables with regard to the recognition and stigma of anxiety.

Authors: Scott Loveridge, Mark Skidmore, Robert Shupp, Paula K. Miller, Courtney Cuthbertson, Stephan J. Goetz

Publication: The Journal of Rural Health Date Published: March 29, 2023


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Linking research and practice: The role of Extension on agritourism development in the U.S.

Agritourism is a critical farm diversification strategy for farmers to enhance income and profit potential with benefits related to rural community development, increased awareness of sustainability practices, and local heritage preservation. For rural community and economic development professionals, agritourism has become an important strategy to develop local tourism, grow small businesses, and enhance regional economic diversification. We propose that the agritourism ecosystem would arguably benefit from more robust Extension programming and network development. A discussion of two state case studies, Vermont and California, provides an overview of the critical elements necessary to build a statewide agritourism program. The role of Extension in rural development and tourism underscores the opportunity to utilize agritourism as a broader development strategy. Finally, we make recommendations for growing the role of Extension in agritourism. More robust training and education for Extension professionals, stronger connections to state tourism departments, and more robust advocacy with university and state-level decision makers on the value of agritourism investments are all highlighted as crucial next steps.

Authors: Claudia Schmidt, Lisa Chase, Carla Barbieri, Ellie Rilla, Doolarie Singh Knights, Dawn Thilmany, Stacy Tomas, Lori Dickes, Sarah Cornelisse, R. David Lamie, Rachael Callahan, Holly George, and Penny Leff

Publication: Applied Economics Teaching Resources Date Published: July 1, 2022

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Facility locations in the fresh produce supply chain: An integration of optimization and empirical methods

Facility locations are crucial determinants of supply chain efficiency for aggregating and distributing products. The multi-disciplinary nature of the facility location problem requires multiple complementary approaches, at different levels of aggregation, to accommodate the salient features of location determinants. This study examines the facility location problem for the U.S. fresh produce supply chain. We present a model that incorporates an empirical scenario into a facility location problem in order to capture much of the information required to make an optimal location decision. Our results suggest that the reliability of facility locations can be improved without significantly increasing the operating costs. This study sheds light on how the application of complementary modeling approaches improves the effectiveness of facility location solutions.

Authors: Houtian Ge, Stephan J. Goetz, Rebecca Cleary, Jing Yi, Miguel Gómez

Publication: International Journal of Production Economics Date Published: July 1, 2022

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An early assessment of COVID-19’s impact on tourism in U.S. counties

We use county-level data to examine how the COVID-19 pandemic affected the tourism and hospitality sector, which was by far the most impacted of all sectors, focusing on employment and wage changes. Results support our hypothesis that rural counties experienced fewer negative impacts or even benefited from the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of job growth. We present maps showing the pandemic’s effects on leisure and hospitality (L&H) employment across the nation, identifying the communities both hardest hit and least impacted. A linear regression model is developed to explore independent factors that influenced the pandemic’s local impact. Results are robust across different measures of the key variable (rurality), including rural-urban continuum codes, distance from metropolitan areas, and population density. We also consider the impacts of social capital, income, and local economic diversification, among other factors. Our results suggest that remote, less-populated counties were more likely to experience stable employment in the L&H sector relative to pre-pandemic levels, and in some cases even experienced employment growth.

Authors: Luyi Han, Stephan J. Goetz, Daniel Eades, Jason Entsminger, Doug Arbogast

Publication: Tourism Economics Date Published: June 16, 2022


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Extension and Tourism: Previous Efforts, Current Trends, and the Future

This study highlights the results of a national survey of Extension land-grant and sea grant professionals designed to better understand their involvement in state/regional tourism programming and their perceptions of tourism related opportunities and challenges. This study demonstrates the breadth and importance of Extension’s tourism programing and continued challenges including limited investment and commitment by state institutions and the larger CES for core tourism program offerings. Investments in tourism programing are recommended as a way for Extension to maintain its relevancy, and better engage and address the community and economic development needs of traditional and emerging audiences.

Authors: Doug Arbogast, Daniel Eades, Stephan J. Goetz, and Yuxuan Pan

Publication: Journal of Extension Date Published: May 9, 2022

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Food Insufficiency and Twitter Emotions During a Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic initially caused worldwide concerns about food insecurity. Tweets analyzed in real-time may help food assistance providers target food supplies to where they are most urgently needed. In this exploratory study, we use natural language processing to extract sentiments and emotions expressed in food security-related tweets early in the pandemic in U.S. states. The emotion joy dominated in these tweets nationally, but only angerdisgust, and fear were also statistically correlated with contemporaneous food insufficiency rates reported in the Household Pulse Survey; more nuanced and statistically stronger correlations are detected within states, including a negative correlation with joy.

Authors: Stephan J. Goetz, Connor Heaton, Muhammad Imran, Yuxuan Pan, Zheng Tian, Claudia Schmidt, Umair Qazi, Ferda Ofli, and Prasenjit Mitra

Publication: Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy Date Published: April 3, 2022


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Explaining Spatial Disparities in Fatal Drug Overdoses, 1970-2016

The opioid crisis has impacted many regions of the United States, transcending socioeconomic, demographic, and political divides and leading to urgent calls for public health and law enforcement interventions. It has hit both micropolitan and rural smaller communities especially hard, with severe increases in prescription drug-induced fatalities over time. This paper explores socioeconomic determinants and spatial disparities of fatalities caused by drug and opioid overdose (both intentional and unintentional), focusing specifically on rural-urban differences and understanding the separate role of net farm income in the drug overdose crisis.

Authors: Meri Davlasheridze, Stephan J. Goetz

Publication: Review of Regional Studies Date Published: December 21, 2021

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The Role of Community Food Services in Reducing U.S. Food Insufficiency in the COVID-19 Pandemic

We use state-level Census Household Pulse Survey data to examine the role of community food
services such as food banks and pantries in reducing food insufficiency during the COVID-19
pandemic in the United States. Food insufficiency increased for all income classes during the
pandemic, and especially for the lower and middle classes. We adopt a fixed effects filtered
estimator to estimate the coefficients on time-invariant regressors in a fixed effects panel model.
Estimation results suggest community food services contribute to mitigating food insufficiency,
especially for the middle class and in the early months of the pandemic.

Authors: Zheng Tian, Claudia Schmidt, Stephan J Goetz

Publication: Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics Date Published: October 1, 2021


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Female farmers in the United States: Research needs and policy questions

The literature on women in agricultural production in developing countries is vast. While female farmers in the United States have recently received more attention, their general characteristics and practices pursued have not received as much consideration by agricultural economists. Here we examine U.S. female farmers’ characteristics and factors associated with county level female farm shares using Census data. We find that these shares are higher near metropolitan core counties and that their presence is associated with agritourism activity as well as horticultural and small livestock production. We conclude with several policy questions and future research needed to assess the roles and impacts of female farm operators in the U.S.

Authors: Claudia Schmidt, Stephan J. Goetz, Zheng Tian

Publication: Science Direct Date Published: May 1, 2021

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