CSU study: Colorado 4-H contributes millions to Colorado's economy

Every dollar county, state and federal agencies invest in the Colorado 4-H Program is returned to the state’s economy six times over. That’s one of the findings of a new Colorado State University study evaluating the economic contributions of the youth development program.

“This is a conservative estimate of the contribution of 4-H,” said study author Rebecca Hill, a CSU extension research economist. “In addition to the monetary benefits, there are other benefits that are not easily quantifiable.”

Full results of the statewide study will be released Jan. 24 in the Old Supreme Court Chambers at the Colorado State Capitol in Denver as part of Colorado 4-H Day.

Hill analyzed 4-H member record books completed during the 2012-2013 record year to compile expenditures made by participating families. She found that Colorado’s 4-H families spend $22.5 million a year in their communities supporting their children’s projects. When secondary effects spending are calculated, the program’s statewide economic contributions swell to $45 million.

“Taxpayers contributed approximately $7.3 million to the Colorado 4-H program during the same time 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 Colorado State 4-H Program asked Hill to study the program’s economic benefits so county, state and federal officials had accurate information on which to base their budget decisions. More than 14,000 Colorado youth participate in organized 4-H clubs each year.

“We have always known that 4-H is good for kids, families and communities,” said Goodwin. “Here is strong economic evidence to support that fact as elected officials get ready to tackle tough budgetary issues.”

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