Analysis studies 'Main Street Effect': Swenson

September 14, 2021

David Swenson David Swenson, research scientist, was cited in a Sept. 3 Perishable story, "Small Family Farmers Generate More than 50% More Economic Value for Local Economy, Report Reveals."

Dave Swenson, also showed that Niman Ranch creates over 150% more jobs than conventional hog production and in 2019, the year studied, generated more than $20 million in added value for the local Iowa economy (the equivalent measurement of gross domestic product).

“Local economies would prosper if more adopted Niman Ranch’s approach instead of conventional production,” said Swenson of his findings. “This is the Main Street effect. The small farmers in Niman’s network hire more people, spend more regionally and their employees also spend their money closer to home.”

Swenson was a guest of Michael Libbie, Insight on Business (podcast) on Sept. 9. Topics were Iowa’s labor force woes and whether eliminating unemployment insurance benefits in June spurred job growth in the state.

Swenson was interviewed for a Sept. 12 High Plains Journal story, "Ag-rich counties still losing population."

The population of Sioux County, Iowa’s top agricultural producer and another densely populated county, increased by 6.4% to 35,872. While it is home to the towns of Sioux Center and Orange City, Iowa State University economist Dave Swenson said it stands as an exception to many of the trends that other farm counties were seeing.

“Sioux County is the most densely farmed county in the state,” he said. “The average farm is smaller. The amount of labor per farm is higher than the state average, and then the amount of animals and productivity they get off of their farms—whether it's cattle feeding, dairy, pork production, or hay—is way higher than any other county in the state.”

Swenson interviewed with Sarah Beckman, WOI/TV about the grocery store competition in the metro Des Moines area.

Dave Swenson, an economics professor at Iowa State University, said Hy-Vee's futuristic changes are something that many similar stores make to keep up with evolving market trends, which includes plenty of research.

"Hy-Vee, Walmart, all these firms...they know more about the customer than anybody else could possibly know about the customers," said Swenson. "They know what we like, they know what we buy, they know these things."

He adds that in order to stay competitive and make more money, stores need to diversify their offerings.

"What they want to do over the course of your experience in the store is get as much money out of you as they can," Swenson said about stores. "And to do that, they have to offer you more things than just food."


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