Posted: March 3, 2017

This project, located in Western PA, around the counties of Beaver, Butler and Lawrence, is creating an opportunity for Penn State Extension to partner with major local stakeholders to form an innovation zone focused on the identification, seeding and consulting of agricultural and food businesses. The project in 2017 will build a functioning Board of Advisors, identify locations for the project and develop programming that includes the gamut of Extension resources and expertise.

The Earl & Kay Harbaugh Agricultural Entrepreneurship Intern selected for this project will gain the skills of survey tool development, data collection, analysis and presentation when building data on the local agricultural market. Also the opportunity to understand the needs and level of interest of farmers, market managers and other agricultural stakeholders in the process of economic development and expansions in market opportunity.

Internship Work/Activity

To work alongside the Ag Entrepreneurship Extension Educator, to

A. Develop a survey tool that will be utilized for data collection around farmers and the incubation model throughout the Western PA region and will be a tool accessible to other extension educators.

B. Conduct the survey with the Lawrence/Butler County farmers and food businesses to understand the following:

  • Their level of desire in selling at the year-round market and their needs/demands for participation.
  • Farmer's and food entrepreneurs level of interest and potential to join the Enterprise Engine to start new farming operations, expand existing operations, flesh out new value-added products and other food business ideas.
  • Analyze and report this data back to Enterprise Engine, City of New Castle, Blueprint Advisory panel and other stakeholders.

C. Conduct the survey with the Beaver County farmers to understand the following:

  • Their level of desire to participate in several types of programming including: Farm Tours/agri-tourism, outreach/community marketing events, shared commercial kitchen incubators to create value-added products, year round farm market options, support educational outreach to consumers at the markets.
  • Analyze and report this data back to the Beaver Local Food Systems group and create a report to provide to county officials, tourism bureau and as a white paper and workshop presentation on expanding and strengthening local food systems.
  • Work alongside city planning officials and the BCI Board to meet these farmer-centered criteria and develop business model, services and curriculum that meet the needs of farmer's and food business entrepreneurs.

Internship Work Details & Timeframe

The College of Agricultural Sciences intern would work out of the Beaver County office, in Beaver, PA 15009 but have travel (covered by Beaver office) to Lawrence County and surrounding areas as well. The internship would run May 30th through August 4th (10 weeks). It is recommended the student have transportation, but does not disqualify them from consideration. Contact Maria Graziani, Ag Entrepreneurship Extension Educator, for more information on this opportunity.

For more information contact: Penn State Extension, Beaver County c/o Maria Graziani 1000 3rd Street, Suite #3 Beaver, PA 15009-2026; or (724) 774-3003

Penn State is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity and the diversity of its workforce.