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University of Minnesota Extension

Economic development

Helping communities navigate their economic future

Extension helps Minnesota communities develop an economic strategy. Through applied research, education, and consultation, communities can choose a path supported by community members.

Our community economics educators consult with regions and communities in Minnesota. These consultations help communities tailor their approach to addressing local concerns on topics such as:

Economic development during COVID-19

Looking for ways to inform and support your community during these uncertain times? Find below community-economic focused news articles, research reports, webinars and events.


Read about Extension community economic research and community stories.

Historic preservation tax credit study informs decisions

U of M Extension’s Brigid Tuck provides 11 years of economic research.

U of M Extension survey seeks agritourism insights

The intersection of agriculture and tourism offers an ever-growing range of options to those seeking to open their farms and property to visitors.

Q and A on tourism

New Tourism Center Director Xinyi Qian shares thoughts on challenges and opportunities.

What’s happening with Minnesota’s economy?

From inflation to the job market, recent headlines share some stunning economic news. Learn about the data behind this news and how it's impacting our current economy.


Listen to conversations with community leaders and members about vital economic topics.

  • Person opening the door to the Travel Information Center in Central, Minn.    

    Minnesota tourism during the pandemic

    (10/22/2020) The tourism industry has been impacted by the pandemic. Listen as we discuss the state of Minnesota’s tourism…


    Impacts on retail

    (6/10/2020) COVID-19 has impacted businesses differently. Listen as we discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on retail and the…


    Economists on the economy

    (6/3/2020) Today, the dial is moving, and businesses are reopening. What can communities do to support business now?…


Discover Extension research reports to help your community and community leaders find answers to critical questions.

Economic impact of projects leveraged by the Minnesota Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit: fiscal year 2022

Submitted projects will generate an estimated $349.8 million of economic activity in Minnesota. Read more findings.

Halal in Minnesota: Goat meat marketing case study

Halal meat is a growing opportunity for livestock producers in Minnesota. Read about a farmer's experience entering the halal market and key takeaways for other interested farms.

Economic impact of proposed expansion of the Brainerd Lakes YMCA

The expansion and renovation construction activities will generate an estimated $43 million of economic activity in Crow Wing County. Read more Extension findings.

Economic contribution of the Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative, 2021

In 2021, the SMBSC generated $808.5 million of economic activity and supported 4,900 jobs in their 20-county region. Read more key findings.


Explore our webinars (live and on-demand offerings) or register for a course/event to learn about community economics.


Community economics webinars

Find webinars on community economic topics. Learn how to attract and retain businesses and residents, grow retail sales and understand economic changes.

Growing tourism leadership online course

Looking to grow your career in tourism? Extension's Tourism Center offers a six-part online series to strengthen your knowledge and leadership skills. Learn more and register today.

Sustaining your local economy in turbulent times

How are your community's businesses managing in this pandemic? We are hosting this webinar series to inspire and encourage you with stories of community economic resilience during this stressful time.

Tourism recovery and beyond

Watch a three-part webinar series on-demand. Learn about measuring the economic effects of festivals and events, the impact of new residents, and agritourism and agriculture.


Watch Extension educators share their research, analysis and insight on topics important to our local communities. Visit our YouTube page for more videos.

Consult with us

Community economics • Leadership and civic engagement • Tourism

Extension educators work in communities with partners throughout Minnesota. Contact us for consultation, guidance and conversation about your community.

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