Economic Development

A primary economic growth engine, UA Cooperative Extension does things that private industry cannot afford to do. We help grow the economy by growing the private sector. Applying scientific and engineering research with rapid tech transfer as well as direct practical education, we are extending the university throughout Arizona.

Serving Arizona, Benefiting the Economy

As soon as one problem is addressed, new challenges arise that require the application of science, research and practical education to find solutions. "For every dollar invested, Cooperative Extension increases that funding through external sources," said Jeff Silvertooth, director of Arizona Cooperative Extension and associate dean for economic development in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. "Therefore, Cooperative Extension provides a direct and positive economic impact that creates jobs and local cash flow."

Growing Private Sector Revenue and Jobs

  • Despite recent outbreaks of pests such as Brown Stink Bug and Aflatoxin, our Crop Pest Losses & Integrated Pest Management Assessment Program has saved growers over $451 million in insecticide spray costs and crop yield savings since 1996. More than 21,000,000 lbs. of the active ingredient in these insecticides has been prevented from entering the environment via these IPM education programs.
  • Cochise County’s Comprehensive Plan now includes a policy to use Renewable Energy Opportunity Analysis when reviewing proposals for utility-scale solar facilities. REOA was developed by Cooperative Extension and other UA faculty; all state lands have been analyzed. Among its results in Cochise County: a 250,000 solar panels installation that created 150 jobs. Pima County used REOA results in 2014 to identify shovel-ready properties for photovoltaic development.
  • Cooperative Extension’s Water Investigations Program worked with students around the state to conduct an Indoor Water Audit, resulting in a projected savings of 2,000,000 gallons at school faucets.
  • 22% of Yuma-area durum wheat producers have now incorporated minimum tillage practices, promoted by UA Extension agents, with significant savings of fuel, labor and time – and no reduction in yield or quality. None of these farmers were using minimum tillage practices in 2005.

Growing Social Value

  • Pinal County rates for developmental screening of children aged 0-3 years lagged behind state rates in 2009-2012 and so Pinal County Cooperative Extension offers screening for early detection of vision, hearing and developmental impairments that could affect developmental growth and diminish quality of life and success in school. More than 10,000 screenings were completed in 2014, with 1,129 medical referrals.
  • Arizona 4-H is a Cooperative Extension program. In 2014, more than 133,000 Arizonans were enrolled in this leadership program. In high school, 4-H'ers are four times more likely than their peers to contribute to their communities and twice as likely to be civically active, make healthier choices and seek extracurricular activities in science, engineering and computer technology.
  • Four participants in UA Cooperative Extension’s Project CENTRL (Center for Rural Leadership) have served in the Arizona Legislature—one is the current House Speaker. Six alumni have served in Gila, Graham, Greenlee, Yavapai and Yuma counties as county supervisor. Four Arizona mayors and four city/town council members are Project CENTRL alumni.