Agricultural Sciences

Land-use webinar to focus on Northeast U.S. agriculture and why it matters

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Agricultural diversity in the Northeastern U.S. — ranging from dairy farming to fruit and vegetable production to forest-product, nursery and greenhouse activities — and why it matters will be the focus of a web-based seminar presented by Penn State Extension at noon on Nov. 20.

Presenting the 75-minute webinar will be Stephan Goetz, professor of agricultural and regional economics, and Claudia Schmidt, assistant professor of agricultural economics, both in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

In addition to the economic activity created by farm businesses, the economic impact beyond the farm gate is huge when considering farm-services businesses — such as suppliers, repair, equipment, lenders and insurance — and processing activities such as dairy-processing plants, sawmills and wineries, noted Goetz, who also is director of the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development.

“The common, popular image of the geography of U.S. agriculture is that the nation’s ‘Heartland’ — or ‘breadbasket’ — dominates in producing the nation’s food,” he said. “But this webinar will review the significant contributions of agriculture in the Northeast Region.”

Goetz pointed out how the region differs from the nation in terms of local agriculture, direct marketing, female-operated farms and greater production of nutrient-dense foods.

Moreover, he said, “Northeast agriculture is less reliant on federal subsidies, and yet farm numbers are holding up better than elsewhere in the nation. We also will review recent trends related to community development, including the rise of breweries and their implications for local supply chains.”

“Northeast U.S. Agriculture: Why It Matters” is the fifth and final webinar in the Penn State Extension Summer/Fall 2019 Land-Use Webinar series that runs monthly from July to November. The webinar series helps municipal elected and appointed officials, planners, landowners, interested individuals, farmers, and community organizations to be informed about land-use issues and decisions in their communities.

Other topics and dates in the webinar series include the following:

--July 17: “Complete Streets: Planning and Policy” (previously recorded)

--Aug. 21: “Finding Pennsylvania’s Solar Future” (previously recorded)

--Sept. 18: “Should We Consider a Stormwater Utility to Facilitate Stormwater Management?” (previously recorded)

-- Oct. 16: “Yes, Communities Can Design Out Crime” (previously recorded)

All programs are recorded and available for future viewing.

The cost of the webinar series is $50 for all five sessions, or $95 for all five sessions for those who want to receive AICP certification-maintenance credits from the American Planning Association. The cost is also $95 for all five sessions for professional engineers needing PDH credits.

In addition, registered landscape architects can receive continuing education credits for a fee of $65.

For more information, contact Peter Wulfhorst at 570-296-3400 or by email at To register for the webinars, visit the website.

Last Updated November 04, 2019