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November/December 2008

Inside This Issue:


Guidebook for Pennsylvania Farmers, Schools and Communities: Growing the Links Between Farms and Schools
Interested in bringing a farm to school program to a school near you? The Center for Rural Pennsylvania’s recently released guide, Growing the Links between Farms and Schools: A How-To Guidebook for Pennsylvania Farmers, Schools and Communities, could help.

The guide is aimed at schools and school districts, especially food service directors, teachers, administrators, school nurses, and school health and wellness committees. It was also written for farmers and suppliers who are interested in participating in a farm to school program but are unsure about when or how to develop relationships with local schools.

The guidebook recognizes that both schools and farmers need to work together to make farm to school programs work effectively and describes a number of different ways to make connections and to start and sustain a successful farm to school program.

Dr. Clare Hinrichs, Dr. Kai Schafft, Dara Bloom and Erin McHenry-Sorber of Pennsylvania State University developed the guide through a grant from the Center.

To create the guide, Drs. Hinrichs and Schafft first conducted research on farm to school programs to learn if and how Pennsylvania public school districts are using the program. The research was conducted in 2007 and included a survey of food service directors at the state’s public schools and mini-case studies conducted in seven school districts. 

The research is summarized in the report, Farm to School Programs in Pennsylvania.

The research findings indicate that many food service directors tend to engage in local food purchasing and support educational efforts focused on health and nutrition, agriculture and the food system. However, many were not aware that these activities are considered components of a farm to school program.

The research also revealed that food service directors are interested in expanding local food procurement and educational efforts.

The case study data further showed how school districts’ farm to school efforts reflect local needs, resources and constraints. These findings suggest that farm to school may be better thought of as a broad and flexible portfolio of possible efforts from which school districts and community stakeholders may draw instead of rigid and prescriptive sets of activities.

The report offers specific policy considerations that are both procurement-based and education-based to directly and indirectly help schools implement farm to school activities. 

For a copy of the guidebook, Growing the Links between Farms and Schools: A How-To Guidebook for Pennsylvania Farmers, Schools and Communities, or the research results, Farm to School Programs in Pennsylvania, call the Center for Rural Pennsylvania at (717) 787-9555, email or visit


Research Explores Impacts of Warehousing, Trucking
The warehousing and trucking industries employ more than 83,000 people in Pennsylvania and the potential to grow these industries in Pennsylvania is strong as many areas in the state provide suitable environments for these industries.

According to research sponsored by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, meeting any additional demands for warehousing or trucking in rural Pennsylvania would have greater statewide impacts on total income than meeting those demands in urban Pennsylvania alone.

The analysis
In 2007, Drs. Paul Marr, Scott Drzyzga and George Pomeroy of Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania and Dr. James Biles of Indiana University-Bloomington, conducted a comprehensive analysis of the warehousing and trucking industries in Pennsylvania to learn more about the geographic and economic impacts of these industries on the state and on rural and urban counties.

According to the research, in 2006, more than 48,000 people were employed in the warehousing industry in Pennsylvania. Between 2001 and 2006, Pennsylvania gained 21,194 net warehousing jobs: rural counties gained 7,066 jobs and urban counties gained 14,128 jobs. Employment grew and concentrated in Pennsylvania at rates substantially faster than the national averages.

Warehousing facilities tended to be located in urban counties (74 percent), with Allegheny, Philadelphia, Bucks, and Luzerne having the largest numbers of facilities.

From 2000 to 2004, the geographic center for these jobs shifted from the several counties outside of Philadelphia to a cluster of about 18 counties, most of which are situated along the I-81 corridor.

The research also revealed that, in 2004, warehousing activities in Pennsylvania produced $2.9 billion in direct output and nearly $7.3 billion of additional economic activity. However, warehousing is strongly tied to household spending and consumption, and any change that affects that portion of the national economy, such as rising fuel or food prices, would likely affect this industry.

Also, while Pennsylvania gained warehousing jobs, warehousing’s growth by itself produced little in the way of broad ripple effects that positively influence other economic sectors.

The researchers determined that an opportunity exists to develop supplementary industries that would support warehousing, which can then be used to capture a larger share of indirect and induced economic effects that now are leaking out of state. These industries might then stimulate greater indirect and induced impacts on wages, income, and employment within Pennsylvania. 

More than 35,000 people are employed in the trucking industry in Pennsylvania. According to the research, trucking facilities tend to be located in urban counties (64 percent).

In 2004, trucking services accounted for more than $10.4 billion in direct output and more than $8.2 billion in direct wages and proprietary income. This direct output produced nearly $24.7 billion in additional output and $18.9 billion in additional wages.

The researchers found that rural Pennsylvania generated 33 percent of all direct trucking output, but received only 27 percent of all indirect and induced effects. The research also revealed that trucking in rural counties has a larger income multiplier than in urban counties; but when spillovers are considered, urban Pennsylvania seems to capture most of the new opportunities trucking creates, as well as much of what rural Pennsylvania creates.

Generating greater impacts
From a statewide planning perspective, the research results suggest that, if there is additional demand for warehousing or trucking in Pennsylvania, meeting that demand in rural Pennsylvania would generate greater impacts on total income, statewide, than meeting that demand in urban Pennsylvania alone.

From a rural development perspective, these results reinforce an important policy issue – economic growth in rural Pennsylvania generates benefits not only for rural counties, but also for urban counties.

For a copy of the research report, Economic and Transportation Impact of Warehousing on Rural Pennsylvania, call the Center at (717) 787-9555, email or visit


Chairman’s Message
Rarely a day goes by when the media don’t focus our attention on food, nutrition and health.  Government, for its part, has also been engaged in these issues. At the federal level, Congress passed the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004. Among other things, it required local education agencies participating in the National School Lunch Program and/or School Breakfast Program to develop school wellness policies. Students, parents, school food service representatives, the school board and administration, and the public were charged with developing wellness policies to promote the health of students and address the growing problem of childhood obesity. These policies were to be implemented in 2006 and had to include measurable goals for nutrition education, physical activity, and food provided on the school campus and during other school-based activities.

In mid-2007, the Pennsylvania General Assembly enacted the School Nutrition Incentive Program that provided supplemental state reimbursement for each breakfast and lunch served as part of the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program. The incentive program applies to all schools that adopt and implement, as part of their wellness policy, the Department of Education’s nutrition standards for food and beverages available on each school campus. 

Many of the initiatives that Pennsylvania schools are implementing to advance healthful lifestyles include using locally grown foods as part of school menus. These initiatives, which are typically called “farm to school,” help connect schools with local farms to meet very specific objectives of serving healthful meals in school cafeterias, improving student nutrition, providing health and nutrition education opportunities that will last a lifetime, and supporting local farmers and farming. Farm to school programs offer an important blend of activities that can help kids, and adults, understand where their food comes from and how it reaches their tables.

Recent research sponsored by the Center, which is highlighted on Page 1, set out to learn how and to what degree Pennsylvania public school districts are using the farm to school program. The research found that many school food service directors engage in farm to school activities by purchasing local foods and supporting educational efforts focused on health and nutrition, agriculture and the food system. However, many food service directors were not aware that these activities are considered components of a farm to school program.

Whether they called the program by a formal name or not, food service directors were interested in expanding their opportunity to purchase locally grown foods and provide education.

The research also culminated in the development of a guidebook that could help Pennsylvania schools and communities initiate farm to school programs in their districts. Providing our children with healthful foods and a strong knowledge of Pennsylvania’s agricultural strengths is a winning combination.

As we prepare for the holiday season and gather our families together around the dinner table, let’s remember to thank our farmers for the bounty they provide us throughout the year and continue to support them as consumers. Have a wonderful holiday season.

Senator John Gordner


Rural Crime Rates Increase, Remain Lower Than State Rates
Crime rates in Pennsylvania’s rural counties have increased from 2001 to 2007, but rural counties still have lower crime rates than both the nation and the commonwealth, according to a recent analysis by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania.

To complete the analysis, the Center used data from the Pennsylvania State Police’s Uniform Crime Reports, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Census Bureau. Data were averaged for two, three-year periods: the first period from 1999 to 2001 and the second period from 2005 to 2007. These years were averaged to eliminate extremes and to help reduce yearly fluctuations that could unduly influence the analysis results.

The analysis focused on crime trends at the county level and offers a comparison between rural and urban counties. For the analysis, crimes were divided into two categories: Part I crimes, which include more serious offenses such as murder, negligent manslaughter, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny/theft, arson, and motor vehicle theft; and Part II crimes, which include all other non-moving violation offenses outside those defined as Part I offenses. The analysis focused on the more severe Part I crimes.

1999 – 2001
During 1999-2001, Pennsylvania had more than 932,000 total crimes reported: more than 208,000 reports occurred in rural counties and about 724,000 reports occurred in urban counties. The concentration of crime for the commonwealth was 36 percent Part I crimes and 64 percent Part II crimes. Twenty-nine percent of reports from rural counties and 38 percent of reports from urban counties were Part I crimes. 

Statewide, crime occurred at a rate of nearly 7,600 reports per 100,000 residents; more than 2,700 of which were Part I.

Rural counties had 6,150 reports per 100,000 residents, nearly 1,800 of which were Part I. Urban counties had 8,150 reports per 100,000, nearly 3,100 of which were Part I.

The counties with the fewest reported crimes per 100,000 were Union and Juniata, while the counties with the most reported crimes per 100,000 were Philadelphia, Forest and Centre.

2005 – 2007
During 2005-2007, the average total crimes reported statewide were nearly 978,000, an increase of 5 percent from 1999-2001. Of these crimes, roughly 35 percent were Part I and 65 percent were Part II offenses.

In 2005-2007, Part I crimes totaled 336,000, a decrease of .5 percent from 1999-2001, and Part II crimes totaled 642,000, an increase of 7 percent from 1999-2001.

About 23 percent of Pennsylvania’s total crime reports were from rural counties in 2005-2007. About 30 percent of crimes reported in rural counties were Part I offenses and about 36 percent of crimes reported in urban counties were Part I offenses. In 2005-2007, rural counties had more than 66,300 Part I crimes reported, an increase of 9.6 percent from six years prior, while urban counties had 270,000 Part I crimes reported, a decrease of 1.5 percent from six years prior.

In Pennsylvania, the crime rate was 7,900 reports per 100,000 residents, with 2,700 reports being Part I. Overall, per capita crime rates increased by 4 percent from 1999-2001.

In 2005, Pennsylvania ranked 39th in the nation for Part I crimes. New Hampshire and the Dakotas had the lowest Part I crime rates while Arizona and Washington had the highest.  In 2005-2007, the national crime rate was at 3,900 Part I crimes reported per 100,000 residents, which was a decrease of more than 5 percent since 2000.

Among rural counties, the crime rate was 6,500 total crimes reported per 100,000 residents, an increase of more than 5 percent since 1999-2001, while urban counties had more than 8,400 crimes reported per 100,000 residents, an increase of 3 percent since 1999-2001. The rate for Part I offenses was 1,900 crimes reported per 100,000 residents in rural counties, an increase of 9 percent. Urban counties had a Part I rate of 3,000 reports per 100,000 residents, a decrease of more than 2.5 percent from 1999-2001. Counties within Pennsylvania with the highest per capita Part I crimes reported were the urban counties of Philadelphia, Lehigh, and Dauphin. Counties with the lowest per capita Part I crimes reported were the rural counties of Union, Juniata and Somerset.

Part 1 Crime Rates per 100,000 residents, 2005-2007

Data source: Pennsylvania State Police Uniform Crime Reports 2005, 2006 and 2007


The Road Less Traveled?
Are Pennsylvanians driving less? The answer depends on where you live. According to recently released traffic counts by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), the number of daily vehicle miles traveled in Pennsylvania’s urban counties had a marginal increase of 1 percent from 2006 to 2007; in rural counties, there was a 1 percent decline. Daily vehicle miles traveled, or DVMT, is a measure of total miles traveled by all vehicles. Generally speaking, higher DVMT mean more highway traffic.

In 2007, the total DVMT for all roadways in rural Pennsylvania was 102.5 million, a decline of 589,900 from 2006.  In urban counties, the DVMT went from 193.0 million in 2006 to 194.4 million in 2007, an increase of 1.4 million.

From 1995 to 2005, the DVMT in rural Pennsylvania increased an average of 2 percent per year. It appears that 2005, however, was a peek year.  From 2005 to 2006, the rural DVMT was essentially flat, showing a less than 0.1 percent increase, and from 2006 to 2007, a 1 percent decline. The decline in rural highway traffic had little to do with several key economic indicators.  There was, for example, no significant relationship in the DVMT change from 2006 to 2007 and the change in employment, unemployment, wages, or business establishments during the same period. Similarly, there was no significant relationship in the change in DVMT and the population change, or the change in the number of vehicles registered in these counties. Nor was there a relationship between DVMT and rural counties with and without an interstate highway.

While it’s difficult to measure the precise impact of higher gasoline prices on rural driving patterns, a closer look at current data may provide some clues. According to data from the U.S. Energy Department, the average price of all grades of gasoline in the United States went from $2.64 in 2006 to $2.85 in 2007, an 8 percent increase. During this same period, total DVMT in rural Pennsylvania decreased 1 percent. Future data on fluctuating gas prices and rural DVMT will be more telling.


Fast Fact: Cumulative Number of Acres in the Pennsylvania Agriculture Conservation Easement Purchase Program, 1990 to August 2008

Data source: Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture


Bye-Bye Baby: Birth Rates Decline in PA
Nurseries in Pennsylvania are a bit quieter these days as fewer Pennsylvanians are having babies.  According to data from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, from 1990 to 2006, there was a 13 percent decline in the number of births in Pennsylvania. This translates to 63 fewer births a day, 14 of which were occurring in rural counties.

To take a closer look at birth rates and other factors that affect natural population growth, the Center for Rural Pennsylvania analyzed data from the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the U.S. Census Bureau.

Pennsylvania Department of Health data show that birth rates for the state declined from 1990 to 2006. In 1990, Pennsylvania’s per capita birth rate was 14 births for every 1,000 residents, and, in 2006, it was 12 births for every 1,000 residents. Statewide, the birth rate grew in only three counties - Fulton, Franklin, and Sullivan - all of which are rural. Their growth ranged from an increase of 0.46 to 1.62 births for every 1,000 residents. In rural Pennsylvania, the per capita birth rate in 2006 was about 11 births for every 1,000 residents, while the 1990 rate was about 13.  The largest per capita decreases in rural counties ranged from 5.71 to 7.17 in Pike, Susquehanna and Forest counties.

The urban birth rate decreased from 15 births per 1,000 people in 1990 to about 12 births in 2006.  The largest decreases in the urban birth rate ranged from 3.05 to 3.73 in Bucks, Lancaster and Philadelphia counties. The smallest urban decreases ranged from 0.79 to 1.23 in Lebanon, York and Lackawanna counties.

In addition to declining birth rates, the number of women between the ages of 15 and 44, which are considered to be prime childbearing years, has also been decreasing.

From 1990 to 2006, U.S. Census Bureau data show a decrease of 5 percent in the number of women between the ages of 15 and 44 in Pennsylvania. That’s a decrease of more than 41,000 women in rural counties and more than 188,000 women in urban counties between the ages of 15 and 44. Allegheny and Philadelphia counties had the greatest decrease in women in this age group: more than 72,500 in Philadelphia County and more than 59,700 in Allegheny County. During this same period, Monroe County had the highest increase among women in this age group (13,500).

While birth rates and the number of women in their prime childbearing years have declined, fertility rates have remained relatively unchanged, according to data from the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the U.S. Census Bureau. The total fertility rate is the average number of children expected to be born to women in their prime childbearing years.  

In 1990, rural counties had a rate of 1.75, and, in 2006, had a rate of 1.71. Among rural counties, in 2006, Forest, Pike and Centre counties had the lowest rates ranging from 1.3 to 1.33. Franklin, Mifflin and Potter counties had the highest rates, which ranged from 2.18 to 2.28.

In 1990, urban counties had a fertility rate of 1.91, while in 2006 their rate was 2. Among urban counties, in 2006, Westmoreland, Cumberland, and Luzerne counties had the lowest rates, which ranged from 1.71 to 1.74. Dauphin, Lancaster and Chester counties had the highest urban rates, which ranged from 2.18 to 2.25.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, Pennsylvania’s fertility rates are comparable to the states of Georgia, Washington and New York. Rural Pennsylvania’s fertility rates are similar to New England states, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C.

Data from the Central Intelligence Agency show that countries such as Uruguay, Burma and Iceland have similar fertility rates to Pennsylvania, and countries such as Iran and Serbia have fertility rates closest to rural Pennsylvania.

Total Fertility Rates per County

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Health and U.S. Census Bureau


Just the Facts: Baby Boomers
After nearly a decade of growth, the number of baby boomers living in rural Pennsylvania is on the decline. According to U.S. Census Bureau population estimates, the number of baby boomers declined 3 percent from 2000 to 2007. From 1990 to 2000, the number of baby boomers in rural Pennsylvania increased 5 percent.

A baby boomer is anyone born from 1946 to 1964. Growing up during the relative prosperity of the postwar period, this generation is one of the largest in United States’ history. In 2007, there were nearly 76.8 million baby boomers, accounting for about 25 percent of the population. 

In rural Pennsylvania, in 2007, there were 915,000 baby boomers, making up 28 percent of the population. In urban counties, boomers totaled 2.4 million, or 27 percent of the population. 

The decline in baby boomers is not unique to rural Pennsylvania. In the state’s urban counties, there was a similar decline of 3 percent in boomers between 2000 and 2007.

Nationwide, there was a 2 percent decline during this period. This decline appears to be widespread; among the 3,140 counties in the United States, more than 2,500 (80 percent) had a decline in baby boomers.

The states with the largest decline among boomers were Alaska, Louisiana and North Dakota, each with a 7 percent or greater decline. Among the 50 states, Pennsylvania ranked 30th in the decline of boomers between 2000 and 2007.

States with the largest increases in the number of boomers were Arizona, Florida and Nevada, each with a 7 percent or greater increase.

Population projections developed by the Pennsylvania State Data Center indicate that the number of baby boomers will continue to fall in both rural and urban counties. Projections show that, by 2030, rural areas will have 20 percent fewer boomers. This future decline will largely be driven by mortality, since boomers will be between the ages of 66 and 84 years old.

Although their numbers have declined, baby boomers continue to play an important role in Pennsylvania’s rural economy. According to data from the Center for Rural Pennsylvania’s RuralPA-CPS from 2006 through 2008, boomers comprised 53 percent of the rural adult labor force. Rural baby boomers also had higher household incomes ($55,000) and homeownership rates (91 percent) than other generations ($40,000 and 86 percent, respectively). 

The RuralPA-CPS also indicates that 78 percent of boomers are married; 24 percent have a bachelor’s degree or higher; and 91 percent have health insurance. Among those rural boomers who are employed, 81 percent work full-time. And, 30 percent of boomer-headed households have children.

Although their numbers are declining, baby boomers are still the largest age group in rural Pennsylvania.