We analyze the value of CES to society by examining recent literature and trends in reported federal formula funded FTEs for CES by region and general program area. Overall, FTEs have declined by 1.5 percent annually from 2007 to 2015. Agriculture is still the largest program area for all regions, except marginally for the Northeast, and it has been the most stable program area. More rural states in the South have placed more importance on 4-H in recent years compared to more urban states in the West. Nutrition/food safety and natural resource FTEs have increased in prominence for the West compared to other regions. FTEs per person declined the most for the Northeast (−5.1 percent), which has by far the highest FTE coverage for number of farms, agricultural sales, and farm acres of all regions. In the future, we see CES continuing to obtain more support through grants, contracts, and gifts, while also obtaining greater efficiencies through more regionalization of agents and specialists.
JEL classifications: H41, H76, N52, O13, O15