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Business Retention and Expansion (BR&E) Program In-Service Training

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Indian River Research and Education Center - UF/IFAS - 2199 South Rock Road Fort Pierce, FL 34945

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The Florida Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (UF/IFAS and FAMU) is partnering with Ohio State University Extension to provide a 2.5 day training on community-led BR&E programs.

The BR&E program assists communities by improving the business climate of the community, helping to make local businesses remain competitive, increasing employment, and stabilizing the local economy. The program provides the resources, training, and tools to develop the capacity of the community to better understand its economy. The program also offers other outcomes of such community engagement including a streamlined BR&E process that enables local leaders to focus on planning, action, and results; a database of local information; and a more robust local economy.

This training program builds capacity among county Extension faculty to respond to agriculture and food related business needs in their communities. This program encourages county faculty of multiple disciplines to interact with agriculture and food related businesses in their counties and with other county faculty addressing sustainable agriculture in their programming. Participants of this training will be able to:

1. Develop and implement a strategy to build a database of information that identifies the strengths and weaknesses of the local economy specifically related to agriculture and food related businesses.

2. Implement data-driven strategies and provide more informed guidance to community and economic development decision-makers that will lead to the retention and expansion of existing agriculture and food related businesses.

Our overall approach to meeting these objectives involves utilizing existing resources developed by The Ohio State University (OSU). Two faculty members from OSU facilitate this training program. They provide all materials and resources county faculty need to implement the BR&E program in their county, including valid instruments for collected data on agricultural and agricultural related businesses.

The training consists of three workshops. Each section of the workshop prepares county faculty in a different phase of the overall BR&E process: “Coordinator Workshop”, “Task Force Workshop”, and the “Data Analysis and Reporting Strategies Workshop”. We also conduct practice business visits, which allow county faculty to conduct a business assessment at an agricultural or agricultural related business.

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Indian River Research and Education Center - UF/IFAS - 2199 South Rock Road Fort Pierce, FL 34945

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