Every dollar county, state and federal agencies invest in the Colorado 4-H Program is returned to the state’s economy six times over, a new Colorado State University study reveals.
“This is a conservative estimate of the contribution of 4-H,” said Rebecca Hill, a CSU Extension research economist and author of the study. “In addition to the monetary benefits, there are other benefits that are not easily quantifiable.”
The data for Hill’s study came from project record books completed during the 2012-13 4-H year. This data includes the total expenditures made by participating families on a wide variety of projects, from livestock to leather crafting. Hill found that families statewide spent a total of $22.5 million in their communities to support 4-H projects. Her study goes on to look at how this spending ripples through the economy.
“Taxpayers contributed approximately $7.3 million to the Colorado 4-H program during the same period,” said Jeff Goodwin, Colorado 4-H director. “This investment in Colorado 4-H is leveraged to contribute a six-fold return to the Colorado economy.”
The secondary economic effects provide $45 million in statewide economic contributions from the state 4-H program.
The study also provided data for each county. In La Plata County, our direct expenditures for organizational costs and projects came out to $306,168.
The total cost of 4-H program management for La Plata County was $50,457. The secondary effects from this investment were $617,377, a 12-fold return to the local economy above the cost to the public.
In addition to these numbers, La Plata County 4-H County Council receives more than $40,000 annually from private donations for its operating budgets. We have a great community that funds us. This budget supports the many educational, leadership and life-skills trainings for our members and volunteers.
Also, it supports the school enrichment and after-school activities for nonclub members. Furthermore, it provides sponsorship for awards and achievement functions. Our office makes a commitment to supporting local businesses to source these awards and functions.
I’m happy to see La Plata County come in above the state average. This can be attributed to the amount of dedication and commitment our more than 100 amazing adult volunteers contribute to the program. This effort pays immeasurable benefits to lives of so many youths in our community.
“We have always known that 4-H is good for kids, families and communities, and here is strong economic evidence to support that fact as elected officials get ready to tackle tough budgetary issues,” Goodwin said.
Finally, remember to support our agriculture community by attending the Four States Agricultural Exposition from Friday to Sunday at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds.
email@example.com or 382-6463. Greg Felsen is La Plata County 4-H youth development agent.