Northeast Extension Priorities

NEED’s membership is diverse and includes a number of small states. Together, they have identified the following priority issue areas.

  • Agriculture (especially related to small scale, specialty & urban producers) 
  • Nutrition 
  • Individual, family & community health & health culture 
  • Sustainable food systems (including food safety) 
  • Consumer literacy 
  • Youth development 
  • Environmental issues 
  • Community economics 
  • Urban issues (including green cities & nutrition deserts) 
  • Sustainability 
  • Community & Environmental Resilience

In the northeast region, many farms are small in scale and diversified in product. At the same time, urban areas are large and densely populated, the competition for arable land is intense, and the divide between urban and rural communities is porous. Land Grant Universities in the northeast region serve 60-65 million people, nearly 20% of the U.S. population on only 5% of its land area. This means that the northeast is the epicenter for consumer voices and has the ability to drive food production decisions.  It also means that the dual pressures of limited land and growing populations have pushed producers to innovate in order to sustainably meet the consumer demand, often at small scales, while being highly visible.  

Cooperative Extension is able to meet the unique needs of the region by being embedded in and listening to communities.  Cooperative Extension services in the northeast continue to meet legacy agriculture needs by providing business and risk management support, technical training, climate adaptation tools, numerous other services to farmers, producers, and land managers. At the same time, Extension works in population centers and across the urban-rural interface to develop urban forestry projects, support community food systems, deliver youth developed through 4-H, address the opioid epidemic, and many other emerging priority issues. 

Interested in learning about Cooperative Extension in your state? 

Strategic Investment

NEED can choose to make strategic investments in new and exciting regional Cooperative Extension activities and initiatives. In the past, such funding has been made available to the Northeast 4-H State Program Leaders in support of the 2021 LGBTQ+ virtual symposium series, to backstop the delivery of the 2022 National Urban Extension Conference, and to support the delivery of a regional Northeast ecosystem services and markets symposium.

If a coalition of northeast Extension innovators seeks to advance their idea to NEED for consideration, they may begin the process by emailing Executive Director, Ali Mitchell Dunigan, at [email protected] with the following information.

  • An overview of the strategic idea including desired outcomes and evidence of demonstrated regional need.
  • Partners/LGUs that are committed to the activity or initiative’s success.
  • A narrative case for how an investment from NEED would catalyze change on this critical regional issue.
  • A proposed budget and plan for how funds requested (if any) will be used.