WoWe Blog Post for Farm to School Month

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Head over to the Working on Wellness Environments (WoWe) blog to learn more about getting involved in Farm to School Month: Football, Fall, and Farm to School  

Current Economic Situation: GDP, Income, and Inflation

I’m struck (again) by the fact that how you view the world is affected by your news sources. Last week, the Commerce Department released its advance estimate of second quarter 2021 gross domestic product (GDP). Whether you think the economy is experiencing “some of its strongest ever quarters of economic growth” or “could soon be on the verge of economic disaster” depends where you read the story. The numbers and press release from the Commerce Department are probably somewhere in between those two narratives. All the press agree… Read More →

What is Community Development? – Revised Publication

Back in January, I discussed definitions of community development under the banner What is Community Development?  That post actually followed one on how Community Development Precedes Economic Development. If you still have questions about what Extension Community Development looks like, Greg Taylor, Craig Carpenter, Jamie Rae Walker, and I have updated the What is Community Development? Extension fact sheet, available at here, at,  or at the AgriLife Bookstore. The publication primarily targets Extension faculty and presents how various aspects of community development overlap with other traditional areas… Read More →

Understanding Texas Taxes–New Pub

The Understanding Texas Taxes publication has been updated and is now available under Texas Taxes Publications as well as in the AgriLife Bookstore (free download).  The publication is is designed to policy makers, staff, and Texas tax payers understand the state’s tax system. It discusses the most common criteria for evaluating the effects of major Texas taxes: economic efficiency – propensity to maintain (not distort) the allocation of consumers’ and firms’ choices among goods, services, and investments. economic competitiveness – a firm’s ability to compete with those outside… Read More →

Estimating the economic contribution of rural hospitals

Hospital closures and concerns about access to health care frequently appear as rural topics in the news. Shrinking populations in some rural communities and reimbursement rates from public insurance associated with older populations (Medicare, although this may be supplemented by private insurance) and relatively low incomes (Medicaid and lack of any insurance) create financial pressure for rural hospitals. A Sheps Center study noted that Texas ranked fifth nationally in the number of hospitals (15) at high risk of financial distress, which was most prevalent across the Midwest and… Read More →

Economics of Healthy Concession Choices

Last night was my family’s first Little League game of the year. Yay! Last year was a little weird, and it’s exciting to be back in the stands—and the concession stands. In fact, I’ll be working the concession stand tonight. Concessions stands don’t usually pride themselves on serving the world’s healthiest foods. Last night, I had a healthy salad for dinner so I could enjoy my favorite baseball “sometimes food” at the game — my first jalapeno nachos of the season. Balance, right? But, in our Working on… Read More →

Silver Buckshot in Targeting Economic Development

Several years ago, I saw a quote, “There is no silver bullet. There may be silver buckshot.” I have no idea where I saw this quote, but it’s really stuck with me. You might be more familiar with the saying, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” Similar idea, but less colorful, right? I like the bullet/buckshot analogy because it fits so well with the idea of targeted economic development. In fact, a speaker at a conference in North Carolina remarked a few years ago that he… Read More →

Current Economic Situation, 3/7/2021

Texas Governor Greg Abbott marked Texas Independence Day March 2 by announcing the state would remove the statewide mask requirement and allow businesses to return to 100% occupancy on March 10. It is true that TX DSHS reports fewer COVID cases than earlier in 2021, but only about 1.8 percent of Texans are vaccinated. Removing the mask mandate has generated a fair amount of comment, while increasing the occupancy of businesses and other facilities has been far less controversial. The mask mandate is not really an economic issue,… Read More →

Revisiting the Ten Commandments of Community Leadership

The Ten Commandments of Community Leadership are usually on the final slide of my in-person presentations. I actually got to be with a community in person last week, and someone tried to search for the book online. I found a PDF from the Association of Washington Cities,  and it’s totally worth the short read. Almost a decade ago, I was offered some items from a retired colleague’s files and stumbled upon The Ten Commandments of Community Leadership, a great little book by Maury Forman and Michelle Harvey published… Read More →

What is Community Development?

Last week, I blogged, “Community development precedes economic development.” Thanks for the positive feedback on that idea. But that sentence raises another question for some of you: What is community development? There really isn’t an easy answer to that question. There are many definitions of community development (CD). The United Nationals has offered a succinct, practical definition. It lacks the nuance of other definitions but gets to the heart of the matter: A process where community members come together to take collective action and generate solutions to common… Read More →