Economic Development

Chamber, Farm Bureau Form Partnership

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber today announced the formation of an economic development partnership with the Ohio Farm Bureau to promote the growth of the agriculture industry in a nine-county region of northeast Ohio.

The partnership results from more than a year of discussions to define a joint strategy to better serve the agriculture industry, including farming, food manufacturing, processing and distribution.

In the past three years, food-related industries have invested nearly $50 million in the Mahoning Valley and now make up 7.5% of all manufacturing jobs here, the chamber said. Forty-one food-related companies do business in the Valley and their employees are paid an average of $16.24 per hour, according to the announcement.

There are 7,374 farms in the nine-county region with more than 36,000 Ohio Farm Bureau members. Representatives of the farm bureaus praised the partnership.

“I am incredibly excited for our county farm bureaus to be official partners of the Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber,” said Ty Kellogg, who represents farm bureaus in Lake, Geauga, Ashtabula, Trumbull and Mahoning counties.

Added Nick Kennedy, who represents farm bureaus in Portage, Stark, Summit and Columbiana counties, “The support the chamber can give to local farmers will help make farming stronger in the region.”

Since many of the farm bureau counties are outside of the Mahoning Valley, the chamber will connect those business development leads to the appropriate economic development agencies, said Sarah Boyarko, chamber vice president of economic development, North America.

The Regional Chamber is the Valley’s lead economic development agency. Last year it attracted $126 million in business investments that created 484 new jobs. It has another $1.4 billion in pending projects. Since 1993, the chamber has facilitated $4.4 billion in business investments that resulted in more than 50,000 new or retained jobs.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.