Virtual Workshop: Building Community Capacity Around Youth

December 8th & 9th, 1PM - 3:30 PM Central Time

USDA’s Office of Partnerships & Public Engagement, in collaboration with the Regional Rural Development Centers, is inviting you to join a multi-day virtual workshop on Building Community Capacity around Rural Youth Workforce Development. This event is designed for community organizers and planners that work on this important topic on a state or community level, such as: community planners/organizers, Extension professionals, elected/appointed county and city officials, 4-H Extension agents/staff, career services professionals, parent/teacher organizations, youth-serving organizations, community foundations, and youth-serving workforce development organizations/agencies

During this two part series, participants will:

  • Gain train the trainer tools, skill sets and resources related to identifying and using community assets, plan development and SMART goals.
  • Learn how to apply tools for guiding opportunities to build, sustain, or grow rural youth workforce development within their community.
  • Distinguish between technical, life, soft, and hard skills, and the benefits of each.
  • Increase awareness of how to match youth talents with available opportunities in their community.

Learn More// November 9th, 2020

SRDC's Russ Garner Graduates from the Delta Leadership Institute Executive Academy

SRDC congratulates Russ Garner, an Extension/Research Associate for the Center, on his graduation from the Delta Leadership Institute (DLI) Executive Academy in partnership with the Delta Leadership Authority (DRA). Garner is among three graduates from the state of Mississippi to participate in this program. The year-long DLI Executive Academy is a leadership development program that brings together public, private, and nonprofit sector leaders from DRA’s eight-state region. The program empowers fellows with the tools, experiences, and networks to address local and regional challenges, improve decision-making and policy development, and strengthen leadership capacity and mutual understanding of regional, state, and local cultures and issues.

Learn More// October 16th, 2020

Building Capacity to Serve Socially Disadvantaged Farmers & Ranchers:
3-Part Virtual Train-the-Trainer Series

This three-part train-the-trainer series covers some of the major challenges faced by socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, and provides professionals serving this audience with a set of tools to help them build capacity among these farmers.

Who Should Attend? This workshop is designed for professionals working to help socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Land-Grant University professionals
  • 2501 Grantees
  • Non-profit Organizations
Participants can join one or all the sessions. However, joining all three will produce the most value. The segment topics are:
  • Farm Financial Literacy
  • Heirs’ Property – Strategies to Identify, Address and Prevent Challenges
  • Extension and Service Provider Strategies for Farm Bill Opportunities
*Please note that participants must register for each workshop individually

Learn More// October 8th, 2020

Southern Rural Development Center Secures Walmart Grant to Expand CREATE BRIDGES Initiative

SRDC has secured funding from Walmart to expand CREATE BRIDGES, a pilot program centered on strengthening retail, accommodations, tourism, and entertainment industries which have been notably impacted by COVID-19 and often make up a large portion of the jobs and businesses that drive rural economies. The SRDC will collaborate on Phase II of this initiative with three Land-Grant University (LGU) partners: New Mexico State University, North Carolina State University, and University of Illinois. Community and Economic Development specialists from each university, Dr. Michael Patrick (NM), Becky Bowen (NC), and Susan Odom (IL), will lead the project team in their respective states to pilot a process to help rural communities strengthen their retail sector.

Read the Full Release// September 16 th, 2020

APLU Seeking Expressions of Interest for Online Conference

APLU is currently soliciting Expressions of Interest from researchers and extension professionals working at the intersection of community broadband access and the application of digital tools in agriculture to participate in an online conference.

We invite you to read the conference overview and complete this online form to express your interest. The deadline is 11:59 pm ET on September 30.

Learn More// September 11 th, 2020

SRDC Seeking Candidates for Director Position

The Southern Rural Development Center is seeking candidates for its Director’s position. Please see the attached announcement and share with anyone that may be interested. The SRDC’s mission is to strengthen the capacity of the region's 30 land-grant institutions to address critical contemporary rural development issues impacting the well-being of people and communities in the rural South. This includes both Extension and research efforts.

Learn More// August 7 th, 2020

Webinar – Spanning the Digital Divide: Extension Opportunities to Make a Difference

April 29th @ 12 p.m. CT/1 p.m. ET

The COVID-19 crisis has shown an even harsher light on the digital divide that already plagues the nation. As individuals began efforts to work or learn from home, people that lack broadband access or skills struggle to keep up. What can Cooperative Extension do to help bolster resources to these communities? The National Digital Extension Education Team will share practical guidance into what has been successful in navigating these challenges. Join us for a one hour webinar to explore together.

Learn More// April 23 rd, 2020

2020 Census Update

The U.S. Census Bureau is adjusting 2020 Census operations due to COVID-19. Self-response deadlines have been extended to October 31st and field activities will resume after June 1st. The U.S. Census Bureau is also offering an online map tool that allows you to view self-response rates in communities across the country.

Learn More// April 23 rd, 2020

Southern CRD Webinar: Rural Resiliency – How to Support Mental Health in Rural Communities

April 14, 2020 @ 1pm CT/2pm ET

Stress is a mounting problem in rural and agricultural communities presenting some particular challenges to providing effective support. Both acknowledgment of stress and access to mental health resources is an important strategy in building rural resiliency. In this webinar we will talk about the current state of rural mental health, how rural stress is becoming more pervasive and a subject of public discourse. We will talk about key partnerships in this work and share some innovative ideas and initiatives happening across the South and ways you can get involved.

Learn More// April 1 st, 2020

Resources for Working During COVID-19

The Regional Rural Development Centers have compiled a list of resources for those working, teaching, and learning remotely. We will be updating this page as additional resources become available. Please send additional resources to be posted to Katherine Spiering.

Learn More// March 26 th, 2020

Southern CRD Webinar: The Georgia Initiative for Community Housing: Addressing Housing Issues from the Bottom Up

March 19, 2020 @ 10am CT/11am ET

This webinar presentation will provide a general overview of housing issues in the U.S. and more specifically the Southeast as well as, outline the Georgia Initiative for Community Housing (GICH). It will provide details about how the program operates and outline some successful communities.

Learn More// March 2 nd, 2020

Nominations Open: Bonnie Teater Lifetime Achievement Award 2020

Deadline for nominations: March 13, 2020

Each year, the SRDC honors someone who has excelled in community development work within Extension Service in the South. On even numbered years, we seek to honor a person with the Bonnie Teater Community Development Lifetime Achievement award. We need your help! Nominations are now open, and the attached document describes the process and timeline. Please consider nominating someone that has excelled in this arena.


  • Be currently employed by one of the 30 Land-Grant Universities located in the Southern Rural Development Center region or retired within the last 12 months
  • Serve as an administrator, specialist or agent who has worked in the Extension CD area for at least 10 years at the state, multi-county and/or county levels
  • Have an impressive portfolio of Extension-related programs and publications

Learn More// January 17 th, 2020

Southern CRD Webinar: The 2020 Census is Upon Us: What Can You Do?

January 30, 2020 @ 10am CT/11am ET

With the 2020 Census drawing near, now is the time for anyone interested in promoting participation to learn about several action items they can initiate. This webinar will address the why, what, and how of the Census and present possible activities and connections to encourage participation. Since the Census only occurs once every ten years, it is extremely important for every person in every community be counted.

Learn More// January 9 th, 2020

NIFA Seeking Hall of Fame Nominations

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is seeking nominations for the NIFA Hall of Fame, which was created at the agency's five-year anniversary. Inductees into the NIFA Hall of Fame have worked, coordinated, or supported activities exemplifying NIFA’s synergy of excellence in any combination of research, education, and extension approaches on local, regional, national, or international levels. Inductees have also demonstrated a measurable and positive impact on the lives of citizens and NIFA's mission to invest in and advance agricultural research, education, and extension to solve societal challenges.

Nominations must be submitted no later than February 12, 2020. Hall of Fame inductees will be recognized at the annual NIFA Day of Appreciation tentatively scheduled for April 2020.

Learn More// January 6 th, 2020

Coming Together for Racial Understanding 2nd Train-the-Trainer Event

Steve Turner and Ramona HectorIn October of 2019, a second Train-the-Trainer workshop was held as a part of the Coming Together for Racial Understanding. This event included teams from six additional states. From both trainings there are now 26 states participating in this project. Following the train-the-trainer workshops, all states are expected to 1) engage professionals within the CES system in the home state dialogues and 2) host a dialogue in at least one community.

Learn More// December 20 th, 2019

Community Resource Development 101 Workshop

Eighteen Extension community development participants gathered in Plano, Texas on the first week of November 2019 to address this question in a workshop coordinated by the Southern Regional Development Center and hosted at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Community development specialists* from Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Texas designed and led the CD 101 workshop which took place in advance of a three-day facilitation training workshop hosted by Michigan State University. In the CD 101 workshop, participants explored community systems, power dynamics, local governance, economic structure and finding the right data. While only 1½ days in length, the workshop included presentations, small group work, panel discussions with elected officials, and a community immersion/assessment experience in McKinney, Texas.

The workshop genesis was the 2017 Southern Regional Association of Extension Administration and Association of Southern Region Extension Directors, where guest speaker Richard Harwood challenged Extension Leadership to make the most of Cooperative Extensions’ position and resources to increase their community development involvement. The conversations that followed led to the recognition that across the Southern Region, there was a need for Community and Economic Development capacity building for our Land-grant Universities. The Community Resources Development (CRD) Program Leaders took it upon themselves to assess the community and economic development information and skill needs across the region. A survey was crafted and distributed across the southern region Extension universities. One hundred and seventeen responses from 13 states were returned. The results were compiled and shared through the SRDC Newsletter (Kahl, D., Focusing on the Important: Determining Needs for Community and Economic Development Success. Around the South Regional Spotlight, September 2018 Vol. 14, No. 9). Building on the core identified needs of that survey, the Southern Region CRD Program Leaders Network designed and hosted the CD 101 professional development workshop to broaden the community development capacity of our land grant partners.

Learn More// November 11 th, 2019

National CRED Indicators Team Webinar:
The 'But for' Principle: Getting to Your Impact

October 2, 2019 @ 12:00pm CT/1:00pm ET

Extension and other organizations are often asked by stakeholders – including county, state and Federal funders – to document the impacts of their efforts in order to merit continued support. In this case, “impacts” are the changes in conditions that can be attributed to a program. One option to collect these impacts is to use the "but for" attribution principle. This method involves asking informed community members whether the program was a critical factor in producing the resulting impacts. This webinar provides some background on impact evaluation strategies, information about the "but for" principle, and practical tips for collecting evaluation data based on this principle.

Scott Chazdon, University of Washington
Rebecca Sero, Washington State University
Josset Gauley, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Learn More// October 1st, 2019

Southern CRD Webinar Series:
Creating Bridges for the Rural Retail Workforce: Bringing Businesses and Employees Together to Identify Long-Term Employment Solutions for Rural Retail

July 26, 2019 @ 12:30pm CT/1:30pm ET

Retail, entertainment, accommodation, and tourism sector jobs are a growing share of rural employment. In some rural South communities, these jobs represent the only local employment opportunities for residents with limited or no college education, since manufacturing, mining, and other industries left in the latter part of the 20th century. In addition, these sectors provide critical jobs for those seeking to enter, or re-enter, the workforce and have proven to be economic development engines. However, these jobs often suffer from low wages, no obvious career path, and experience high rates of turnover, despite the economic importance these sectors may have in rural communities. CREATE BRIDGES is a multi-state initiative to strengthen retail, entertainment, accommodation, and tourism industries in rural communities. The process is designed to: raise awareness of the role these important businesses play; determine challenges negatively impacting these businesses and workforce participation; and implement strategies to strengthen them within selected regions.

Learn More// July 15th, 2019

SRDC is Pleased to Award Ramona Madhosingh-Hector with the Bonnie Teater Early Career Achievement Award

Steve Turner and Ramona Hector The Southern Rural Development Center is proud to honor Ramona Madhosingh-Hector as the 2019 recipient of the Bonnie Teater Community Development Early Career Achievement Award. Ramona is a Regional Specialized Urban Sustainability Agent at University of Florida (UF), Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) in Pinellas County, Florida.

In Ramona’s nine years of serving in this role, she has accomplished numerous achievements. Ramona has received more than 30 state and national awards and has also presented at nearly 100 conferences.She has been a dominant player in developing and launching a new UF/IFAS Extension Program: CIVIC, Community Voices, Informed Choices. This provides a platform for deliberative dialogue and feedback through a two-way exchange versus a one-way program delivery style. Another one of Ramona’s achievements includes a program called Sustainability Connections which is a community film series. This series offers an engaging platform to support regional sustainability education efforts. Also, in the field of sustainability, Ramona was an integral part of the planning team for the 2019 National Sustainability and National Extension Energy Joint Summit in Tampa, Florida.

Learn More// June 12th, 2019

Southern CRD Webinar Series:
Telling the Whole Story: Economic Contribution and Cotton Cooperatives

June 18, 2019 @ 11:00am CT/12:00pm ET

Cooperative businesses are an important part of the cotton value chain. They also have unique characteristics that lead to misunderstandings about their operation and value to their communities. Extension specialists and cooperative professionals across Texas and Oklahoma have joined in an effort to share the true story of cooperation by measuring the economic contribution of these businesses.

Learn More// June 4th, 2019

Southern CRD Webinar Series:
Community Food Systems: A Space for Ecology, Justice, and Markets

May 30, 2019 @ 1:00pm CT/2:00pm ET

In this webinar, Eric Bendfeldt, Extension Specialist for Community Viability with Virginia Cooperative Extension highlights ongoing work with Local, Regional, and Community Food Systems, which includes an emphasis on soil health, justice, and facilitating farm to table connections and conversations.

Learn More// May 13th, 2019

Dr. Gina Eubanks Inducted into NIFA Hall of Fame

Gina Eubanks and Scott Angle Dr. Gina Eubanks, Associate Vice Chancellor and Program Leader for Nutrition and Food Sciences at Louisiana State University, has been inducted into the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Hall of Fame. This award recognizes individuals whose exceptional contributions to NIFA’s mission at the local, regional, national, or international level have made a positive impact on the lives of citizens.

Eubanks previously served as the Vice Chancellor for Extension at the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center. While at the SU Ag Center, Eubanks was an active member and chairperson of the Association of Extension Administrators. She also was elected as an administrative representative to the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities Board on Agricultural Assembly. Eubanks attended Southern University and Oklahoma State University and later held teaching roles at Alcorn State University, Oklahoma State University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, and State University.

Learn More// April 29th, 2019

Southern CRD Webinar:
Building a Regional Coalition for Natural Resource Conservation

April 26, 2019 @ 12:00pm CT/1:00pm ET

Natural Resources are an important component of the regional economy in western Kentucky and Tennessee that comprise the Riverlands region. There is a growing interest in building regional capacity to address the challenges faced by communities for the sustainability of natural resources. Extension specialists and agents from Kentucky and Tennessee facilitated a workshop to engage stakeholders with a goal of identifying and prioritizing projects that support outdoor recreation, sustainable resource use, and a high quality of life, while promoting the heritage of the Riverlands region. This session will discuss a collaborative effort between University of Kentucky and University of Tennessee to build a regional coalition for natural resource conservation in the Riverlands region.

Learn More// April 5th, 2019

National CRED Indicators Team Webinar:
Data Visualization: Decision-Making Tools and Methods for Communities

April 22, 2019 @ 11:00am PST/12:00pm MST/1:00pm CST/2:00pm EST

Extension professionals are faced with a challenge to present complex data in simple, understandable information to decision makers. Most often, this information is visualized in the form of maps, charts, and infographics to understand patterns in communities. This webinar will include a discussion of the data, tools and methods used by three experts to help communities visualize information. The panel discussion will focus on innovative methods to generate, track and communicate information to community and economic development stakeholders.

Learn More// April 8th, 2019

New and Improved Land-Grant Impacts Website

There are big improvements to the public facing Land-Grant Impacts Website. The site has a fresh new look, better tools and search capabilities, integrated peer review, and more prominently displayed impact stories. All new statements submitted to the database will now undergo peer review before being made public on the site. This new layer of review will insure the highest quality information is being displayed. Statements from the past three years will be archived and available, but not displayed on the public site. Directors and Administrators and their associates are strongly encouraged to review the entire site to find what’s there to generate communication efficiencies and learn what colleagues are doing across the land-grant system.

Learn More// April 3rd, 2019

Southern CRD Webinar:
Equipping Georgia’s New Farmers for Success

March 26, 2019 @ 2:00pm CT/3:00pm ET

Agriculture has long been the most important part of Georgia’s economy with a Farm Gate Value of over $13.8 Billion. There is a growing interest in niche crops and value added products with the number of small to mid-size farms increasing. The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension is partnering with the UGA Small Business Development Center to train the next generation of farmers in both agriculture production as well as farm business management. Successful growers and producers are first and foremost business people. This session will discuss recent collaborative efforts to promote Georgia’s number one industry and economic driver – agriculture.

Learn More// March 5th, 2019

NSS+NEES Tampa 2019: March 1st Last Day for Early Bird Savings

April 16-19, 2019. Last day to register: April 1st

The National Sustainability Summit & National Extension Energy Summit is a forum for connection and exchange at the nexus of science and stewardship. Join fellow Extension agents, educators, researchers, students, community partners, and sustainability and energy leaders from across the U.S. at this joint national conference. Learn about the latest research, exchange innovative programming strategies, update or reinvigorate your educational toolbox, and cultivate new communities of practice around ENERGY, WATER, FOOD SYSTEMS, LAND, CLIMATE, AND COMMUNITY RESILIENCE.

Keynote Speakers

  • Dr. Katharine Hayhoe: Climate Science Director, Texas A&M University
  • Robert Horton: VP of Environmental Affairs at DFW International Airport
  • Dr. Nick Place: Extension Dean, University of Florida IFAS
  • Gwen Whiting: Everyday Democracy
  • Carolyne Abdullah: Everday Democracy

Learn More// February 27th, 2019

Southern CRD Webianr:
Empowering Minority Students with an Entrepreneurial Mindset

February 28, 2019 @ 2pm CT/3pm ET

The United We Can (Unidos Se Puede) program in Tulsa, OK, empowers black and Latino/a students with skills and resources to pursue higher education. The foundation of the program is an entrepreneurial mindset: a way of thinking that uses critical thinking, problem solving and creativity to see opportunities, learn from failure, and build ones self-efficacy. While these are critical to starting and running a successful business, they are also tools for a successful life. On the foundation of this mindset, the program erects three pillars of programming: success coaches, family workshops, and a summer academy. Students and parents learn essential skills, increase family cohesion, develop positive peer relationship that reinforce and support an entrepreneurial mindset. Evaluations of the program suggest that participants have better school attendance, higher grades, and lower participation rates in negative behaviors.

Learn More// February 14th, 2019

Nominations Open: Bonnie Teater Early Career Achievement Award 2019

Deadline for nominations: March 30, 2019

Each year, the SRDC honors someone who has excelled in community development work within Extension Service in the South. On odd numbered years such as this one, we seek to honor a person with the Bonnie Teater Community Development Early Career Achievement award. We need your help! Nominations are now open, so please consider nominating someone that has excelled in this arena.

  • Be currently employed by one of the 30 Land-Grant Universities located in the Southern Rural Development Center region
  • Serve as an administrator, specialist or agent who has worked in the Extension CD area for 10 years or less
  • Have an impressive portfolio of Extension-related programs and publications

Learn More// January 31st, 2019

Southern CRD Webinar:
Exploring Ways to Engage Limited Resource Communities in Disaster Education – Strategies from the 1890 EDEN Advisory Group

January 22, 2019 @ 1pm CT/2pm ET

The 1890 EDEN Advisory Group was formed in response to foster better 1890 LGUs participation in EDEN and to devise a coordinated strategy to create and deliver effective educational programs and training that targets limited resource audiences. It is widely known that limited resource communities are often the least prepared, lack disaster resources and/or do not receive the timely assistance necessary to promote disaster resilience in their communities. The purpose of the webinar is to delve into strategies for providing disaster education resources to a diverse clientele, the kind of partnerships needed at the state level to support this work, and lessons learned in emergency planning and preparedness that empower communities to be resilient during disaster-related events.

Presenters: 1890 EDEN Advisory Group
  • Michelle Eley, North Carolina A&T State University
  • Noel Estwick, Prairie View A&M State University
  • Rita Fleming, Tennessee State University
  • Gill Finley, Kentucky State University
  • Rodney Stone, USDA-OPPE/Tuskegee University
  • Warren Buchanan, Tuskegee University
  • Kimberly Davis, Florida A&M University

Learn More// January 7th, 2019

SRDC Secures Walmart Grant to CREATE BRIDGES to Strengthen Retail in Rural America

SRDC has secured funding from Walmart to strengthen retail, accommodations, tourism, and entertainment industries which often make up a large portion of the jobs and businesses that drive rural economies. The SRDC will collaborate on this initiative with three of its Southern Region Land-Grant University (LGU) partners: University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service, University of Kentucky, and Oklahoma State University. Community and Economic Development specialists from each university, Dr. Stacey McCullough (AR), Dr. Alison Davis (KY), and Dr. Dave Shideler (OK), will lead the project team in their respective states to develop, refine, and pilot a process to help rural communities strengthen their retail sector.

Each state selected two multi-county regions to participate in CREATE BRIDGES, Celebrating REtail, Accommodations, Tourism, and Entertainment by Building Rural Innovations and Developing Growth Economies. In Arkansas, the two regions include the Ozark Gateway region (Sharp, Fulton, and Izard counties) and the Little River, Sevier, and Howard region. Kentucky’s regions include EKCEP (Bell, Jackson, Clay, Leslie, Harlan, Owsley, Perry, and Lee counties) and Big Sandy (Floyd, Johnson, Magoffin, Martin, and Pike counties). In Oklahoma, the regions include the Sandstone Hills region (Creek, Osage, and Pawnee counties) and the Crossing Borders region (Adair, Cherokee, Delaware, Mayes, and Sequoyah counties). Each state project team will lead their state’s respective regions through the CREATE BRIDGES process.

Learn More// December 4th, 2018

Southern CRD Webinar:
Community Engagement through Partnership

December 5, 2018 @ 11am CT/12pm ET

As Extension Specialist our engagement with reputable partners will allow us to broaden the impact in the communities we serve and increase our volunteer base. This webinar will provide you with information on establishing a partnership with the IRS through their Free Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program. Because of the local and national advertisement, we receive from this partnership we are afforded the opportunity to advertise the value of the County Extension Agents. The community is provided accessibility to receiving tax preparation, the Extension Agent is trained to become Certified Tax Preparers and most important, citizens on a limited and fixed budget save money with the FREE tax preparation. This is one partnership you will want to be a part of!

Learn More// November 20th, 2018

National CRED Indicators Team Webinar:
What’s Your Program Worth? Evaluation Strategies for Documenting the Dollar Value of Extension Programs

November 20, 2018 @ 1pm CT/2pm ET

Presenters: Rebecca Sero, Washington State University; Scott Chazdon, University of Minnesota: Brigid Tuck, University of Minnesota; Catherine Rasmussen, University of Minnesota

Extension stakeholders, most notably county commissioners, often need to justify their decisions to continue funding Extension and need more than evaluation data on program outcomes. They want to know the economic benefits of their Extension funding in their communities. This webinar provides two case studies of evaluation efforts to document the return on investment of Extension programming. Rebecca Sero will describe efforts to document the economic impact of all Extension programming in two counties in Washington state. Brigid Tuck, Catie Rasmussen and Scott Chazdon will present their study of return on investment for a leadership program in McLeod County, Minnesota. Both of these efforts combined quantitative and qualitative methods to collect data on the dollar value of Extension programming. The session is moderated by Sreedhar Upendram, an Assistant Professor in Agricultural Economics at University of Tennessee Extension with expertise in Economic Impact Analysis.

Learn More// November 13th, 2018

Southern CRD Webinar Series:
Does Extension Need Highly Visible Educational Programs Beyond the Farm, Families and Youth?

November 13, 2018 @ 2pm CT/3pm ET

Learn about Florida Extension’s partnership with the Florida Association of Counties in training county elected commissioners. The program began on a formal basis in 1996. It has evolved from a single basic County Commissioner Certification (CCC) program with the addition of an Advanced Commissioner Certification (ACC) and will soon add a third legacy class (yet to be named). Over the past 20 years there have been over 400 CCC graduates and over 200 ACC graduates representing virtually every county in the state.

Learn More// October 30th, 2018

Southern CRD Webinar Series:
Citizenship in Action: How Extension Can Engage and Educate Voters on Ballot Issues

October 30, 2018 @ 2pm CT/3pm ET

Even without commercials, mailers and social media noise, voters can have a difficult time understanding the implications of proposed laws and policy changes they're asked to vote on Election Day. This webinar looks at Arkansas' model of voter engagement and shares how Extension professionals can incorporate ballot issue education into programs for voters of all ages.

Learn More// October 8th, 2018

Coming Together for Racial Understanding Launches First Pilot Effort

On August 27-31, 2018, teams of three from 20 states participated in the first cohort group of Coming Together for Racial Understanding. The purpose of the training is to build capacity with in Cooperative Extension Service (CES) to help communities engage in civil dialogues around racial issues. The week-long training was designed to prepare participants to build capacity within their home states’ CES, working across the borders of the Land-Grant Universities (LGU) within a given state (where there are multiple LGUs within a state). Following the train-the-trainer, the process for expanding capacity is two-fold:

  • Build capacity with the CES system in the home state
  • Build capacity within at least one community
The 20 pilot teams will be working collaboratively to measure impacts from this initiative under the leadership of the Southern Rural Development Center. Impacts will measure how the effort has built capacity both within CES as well as within the participating communities.

Learn More// September 24th, 2018

Southern CRD Webinar Series:
Chalk and Talk: A Different Approach to Community Engagement

September 28, 2018 @ 2:00pm CT/3:00pm ET

The ‘Chalk and Talk’ program seeks to engage people in a creative and accessible way about their feelings, thoughts and views on their city’s downtown. In essence it is a way to informally gather and summarize the varying views and experiences of attendees of local festivals and events about the city while they are immersed in it. The intent is that this information can inspire dialogue and help inform the preliminary steps taken towards longer term design, planning and revitalization initiatives.

Learn More// September 6th, 2018

Upcoming Webinar:
Marketing Cooperative Extension Organizations and Extension Local Foods Educational Programs: A Review of Online Practices Used Across the South

September 6, 2018 @ 11:00am CT/12:00pm ET

What you will learn in this webinar

  • Discover how Extension Services are using Facebook, Twitter, and websites to market ANR, 4-H, FCS, and Community Development Programs
  • Learn the types of content Extension Services are using on Facebook, Twitter and websites to promote Local Foods Extension Programs
  • Learn the key factors that determine an effective website for promoting Local Foods Extension programs to increase engagement among consumers, producers, and communities
  • Learn how to clarify your marketing message for your Local Foods Extension Program to reach more clientele
  • This research was created as part of Sera 47 - Strengthening the Southern Region Extension and Research System to Support Local & Regional Foods Needs and Priorities.
  • This applied research was financially supported by Mississippi State University Extension, the Department of Agricultural Economics, and the Southern Rural Development Center at Mississippi State University.

Learn More// August 27th, 2018

National Sustainability Summit (NSS) & National Extension Energy Summit (NEES) 2019: Call for Proposals

Deadline to apply: October 1, 2018

Hosted by the University of Florida IFAS Extension and the Southern Rural Development Center in partnership with USDA-NIFA, this joint national conference will be held April 16-19, 2019 at The Westshore Grand in Tampa, Florida.

NSS+NEES 2019 will bring leading sustainability and energy educators and practitioners together to showcase land grant university Extension and research program successes, share challenges, and identify opportunities to strengthen our collective impacts. Extension professionals, researchers, graduate students, formal and informal educators, practitioners, and community partners are invited to participate.

Learn More// August 9th, 2018

Understanding Communities: Online Course Offers Tools for Community Development

September 12, 2018 - October 24, 2018

Would you like to understand how communities work? Are you curious about why good ideas sometimes fall flat? Do you watch groups struggle to make decisions without adequate data? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions we invite you to register for Understanding Communities and Their Dynamics, a unique online course presented jointly by the four Regional Rural Development Centers and a team of nationally recognized Community Development professionals.

The seven-week series begins Wednesday, September 12, 2018 and concludes Wednesday, October 24, 2018. Each week features a 90-minute webinar focusing on topics including demographics, economic development, strategic planning and power structures. Supplemental resources and online discussion opportunities will be available on the course website. Participants are encouraged to log in at their convenience throughout the course to explore these topics further, pose questions, investigate additional resources and visit with colleagues in similar situations. All sessions are recorded and available on the website.

“The course covered a lot of topics, giving us concrete information as well as a lot of food for thought,” said a recent course graduate. “I have a new understanding of community dynamics, leadership structures and best practices for collaboration.”
Understanding Communities and Their Dynamics is an introduction to community development. It is appropriate for individuals working with community groups in any subject area. Past participants include those working in agriculture, economic development, youth development, entrepreneurship, nutrition, energy and natural resource-related issues. If you find yourself called upon to facilitate community-based initiatives, or you just want to better understand how communities function, this course is for you!

Learn More// July 12th, 2018

Southern CRD Webinar:
CPTED, Crime Prevention through Environmental Design

July 24th, 2018 @ 1:00pm CT/2:00pm ET

Practitioners, volunteers, and users can learn how design, management, and positive use of the environment can reduce fear of places & discourage opportunities for crime. In turn, they can sustain or improve the quality of public spaces and places in our communities and their intended benefits. Basic CPTED concepts & case studies will be highlighted.

Learn More// July 5th, 2018

2018 Children, Youth and Families At-Risk Professional Development and Technical Assistance Grant

Deadline to Apply: July 27th

The US Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is pleased to announce the release of Requests for Applications (RFA) to fund a new project for the fiscal year 2018 Children, Youth and Families At-Risk Professional Development and Technical Assistance Grant. The mission of the CYFAR Grant Program is to marshal resources of the Land-Grant and Cooperative Extension Systems so that, in collaboration with other organizations, they can develop and deliver educational programs that equip youth who are at risk for not meeting basic human needs with the skills they need to lead positive, productive, contributing lives.

Learn More// July 2nd, 2018

SRDC is Pleased to Award Dr. Notie Lansford with the Bonnie Teater Lifetime Achievement Award

Steve Turner and Notie Lansford The Southern Rural Development Center is proud to honor Dr. Notie Lansford as the 2018 recipient of the Bonnie Teater Community Development Lifetime Achievement Award. Lansford is a Professor and Extension Economist in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Oklahoma State University.

Since 2006, Dr. Lansford has served as the director of the Oklahoma State University’s County Training Program (CTP), which provides training and technical assistance for county government elected officials and their employees. For this program, Dr. Lansford teaches or co-teaches twelve short-courses and multiple workshops, provides program development, technical assistance, and handbook materials, and leads the applied research efforts. He also holds leadership roles with the Local Government Extension Training network and the Ag Bank Management Simulation program. As professor of the undergraduate rural appraisal course, Dr. Lansford has been instrumental in leading the department’s efforts to develop an appraisal minor at Oklahoma State University.

Learn More// June 19th, 2018

Southern CRD Webinar:
Financial Capability as Community Development

June 20th, 2018 @ 10:00am CT/11:00am ET

This webinar invites you to participate in a discussion around building a case for improving financial capability as a method of community development. We will look at current data trends, review research on effective interventions, and provide resources for next steps for communities.

Learn More// June 13th, 2018

Working with Virtual Teams:
3 Part Webinar Series

Increasingly Land-Grant University professionals are called on to work on joint projects where the majority (if not all) of their communication is one through virtual linkages (as opposed to face-to-face meetings). While these virtual connections can save time and financial resources, they are not without specific challenges. This three part webinar series will explore key elements that characterize effective virtual teams and will demonstrate both processes and technological tools that can help leaders guide their virtual teams to success. Each one hour webinar will build on the next, so participants are encouraged to plan on viewing the entire three session series:

Learn More// June 11th, 2018

CMS Releases Rural Health Strategy

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today released the agency's strategy to promote high-quality health care for all rural Americans, address the unique economics of providing rural health care, and bring a rural focus to CMS health care delivery and payment reforms. Developed by the agency's Rural Health Council with stakeholder input, the strategy calls for CMS to "apply a rural lens" to its programs and policies; improve access to care through provider engagement and support; advance telehealth and telemedicine; empower patients to make decisions about their care; and leverage partnerships with stakeholders to achieve the stated goals. CMS said the strategy also aligns with the goals of the Health Resources and Services Administration's Office of Rural Health Policy and other administration priorities, such as reducing regulatory burden and combating the opioid epidemic. "AHA is pleased CMS put forward thoughtful recommendations to address the unique challenges of providing care to patients in rural communities," said Joanna Hiatt Kim, AHA vice president of payment policy. "We look forward to working with CMS and Congress to take meaningful action to stabilize access in rural communities, such as creating new alternative payment models, expanding coverage of telemedicine and access to broadband, and reducing regulatory burden."

Learn More// May 16th, 2018

Southern CRD Webinar:
Increasing Stakeholder Involvement to Build Capacity and Promote Sustainability of Healthy Communities

May 24, 2018 @ 9:00am CT/10:00am ET

How do Extension agents engage stakeholders in significant roles to address community health? What are the challenges and benefits of community based participatory research focused on healthy communities? What do county agents gain from involving stakeholders to achieve policy, systems and environmental changes? This webinar will share lessons learned and successful strategies from county Extension programs currently focused on building healthy communities.

Learn More// May 2nd, 2018

National CRED Indicators Team Webinar:
Evaluating Community Development Impacts Using Qualitative Indicators

April 23, 2018 @ 1:00pm CT/2:00pm ET

Measuring the impact of work community development professionals engage in is critical to ensure its continuation. While many focus on quantitative measures, this webinar will provide successful examples of using qualitative methods to evaluate this work. A pilot evaluation study that used newly developed qualitative indicators will be shared. Additionally, two specific case examples will be provided; one of a community foundation education program evaluation and one of a community health assessment on the Crow Indian Reservation. Discussion will focus on challenges and opportunities in working with organizations outside of Extension, as well as the context for applying qualitative approaches and communicating outcomes across settings.

Rebecca Sero, Washington State University
Dr. Rebecca Sero is the Evaluation Specialist for Washington State University Extension. In this position, Sero leads a statewide evaluation effort and is responsible for increasing WSU Extension's capacity to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of its programs and services. Primarily, she works closely with teams to conduct periodic, focused evaluations of major WSU Extension programs. Additionally, Sero also develops and disseminates evaluation best practices and tools for use by Extension educators and develops evaluation-related professional development opportunities. For additional information, please visit her website.

Paul Lachapelle, Montana State University
Paul Lachapelle is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Montana State University-Bozeman and serves as the Extension Community Development Specialist. Working in partnership with the Local Government Center, his responsibilities involve providing research, technical assistance, and training on various community development topics in communities across the state. Specifically, he provides resources and programs in many areas including community strategic visioning, local governance, and leadership development training.

Learn More// April 3rd, 2018

Southern CRD Webinar:
Leadership Development: A Process of Un-doing Understanding

April 26, 2018 @ 10:00am CT/11:00am ET

As Extension professionals, we are called to promote and support the leadership necessary for a wide variety of education programs. There is no shortage of books on leadership, but it can be difficult to discern the practical guidance appropriate for the context and stakeholders of Extension. Within this webinar, we will revisit conventional leadership concepts and frame them in light of new insights. As a result of the webinar, participants will be able to identify resources that can be used to guide distributed and networked approaches to leadership.

Learn More// March 27th, 2018

USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture Announces Support for Quality of Life in Rural Communities

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced the availability of funding to address the needs of rural Americans by providing individual and family health education programs. Funding is made through NIFA’s Rural Health and Safety Education Competitive Grant Program (RHSE).

The RHSE program addresses the health and well-being of rural America through supporting projects in the food, agriculture, natural resources, and human sciences: individual and family health education programs with specified contents; rural health leadership development education programs to assist rural communities in developing health care services and facilities, and assist community leaders and public officials in understanding their roles and responsibilities; and farm safety education programs to provide information and training to farm workers, timber harvesters, and farm families. In fiscal year 2018, NIFA is soliciting applications for RHSE in the area of individual and family health education.

Learn More// March 26th, 2018

Southern CRD Webinar:
The Opioid Epidemic: Considering Extension's Role and Virginia's Multi-Faceted Approach

March 20th, 2018 @ 10:00am CT/11:00am ET

This session will provide an overview of the opioid epidemic, inform participants of current strategies being implemented to address it, and explore additional opportunities to effect change from an Extension perspective.

Learn More// March 12th, 2018

USDA to Host Roundtables on Rural Opioid Misuse

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced USDA is hosting a series of monthly roundtables on opioids through the summer.

Beginning this month, Hazlett will convene regional roundtables to bring together partners in five states to raise awareness and better understand what support rural communities need to address opioid misuse. Key topics will include challenges associated with substance use disorder; strategies for prevention, treatment and recovery; and how these measures can be replicated to effectively address the epidemic in other rural communities.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that in 2016 nearly 64,000 Americans died from a drug overdose. An overwhelming majority of these overdose deaths involved an opioid. At 174 people each day, this is more than the number of lives lost in car accidents or gun-related homicides. While no corner of the country has gone untouched by this issue, the opioid epidemic has hit rural America particularly hard. USDA is committed to being a partner to rural communities to address substance misuse disorder at the local level through program investment, strategic partnerships and best practice implementation.

Learn More// March 8th, 2018

National CRED Indicators Team Webinar:
Understanding and Evaluating Collective Impact Initiatives

February 22, 2018 @ 1:00pm CT/2:00pm ET

The Collective Impact Model has the potential for bringing organizations and partners together to address a common set of goals. This webinar will provide an overview of the model -- the contexts in which it may be useful, the strategies for making it successful, and current criticisms of its use. Evaluation strategies for assessing both the formative and summative aspects of collective impact models will also be discussed.
Presenters: Walt Whitmer, Scott Chazdon, Deb Tootle, and Allison Nichols

Learn More// February 20th, 2018

The Association of Extension Administrators Welcomes Dr. Albert Essel as Executive Administrator

Albert Essel

The search committee for the executive administrator of the Association of Extension Administrators (AEA) has offered Dr. Albert Essel, the position of executive administrator. As a member of AEA, he has served as Secretary, Vice Chair, Chair, and Executive Committee member. At the national level, he has served as an elected 1890 region representative on ECOP and ECOP Budget and Legislative Committee. Dr. Essel has extensive experience on the national APLU-Board on Agriculture Assembly (BAA) Policy Board of Directors, the BAA Budget and Advocacy Committee, and the Committee on Legislation and Policy that focuses on the farm bill.

His professional experience in Cooperative Extension Programs covers more than 25 years and spans 1890 land-grant universities in three states. He has significant professional experience in education, research, and extension with 17 years of demonstrable service in Cooperative Extension leadership at the Associate Administrator and Administrator levels. He is currently a tenured full Professor of Agriculture at Lincoln University, where he serves as Dean of the College of Agriculture, Environmental and Human Sciences, Director of Agricultural Research, and Administrator of 1890 Extension Programs.

// February 14th, 2018

Bonnie Teater Award Nominations Due March 20, 2018

Each year, the SRDC honors someone who has excelled in community development work within Extension Service in the South. On even numbered years, we seek to honor a person with the Bonnie Teater Community Development Lifetime Achievement award. We need your help! Nominations are now open, so please consider nominating someone that has excelled in this arena. The nominee must be currently employed by one of the 29 land-grant universities located in the Southern Rural Development Center region; serve as an administrator, specialist or agent who has worked in the Extension CD area for at least TEN years at the state, multi-county and/or county levels. An individual who has retired over the past 12 months and who, at the time of his/her retirement, met the conditions outlined, is eligible for consideration.

Learn More// February 7th, 2018

Helping Individuals and Communities in the Wake of a Disaster: 2 Part Webinar Series

Part 1: Post-Disaster Stress in Individuals and Communities

February 15, 2018 @ 9am CT/10am ET

In this webinar, Dr. Breanda Wiens from the University of Florida, will describe common stress responses experienced by individuals and communities following a disaster event. Attention to the psychological aspects of disaster is a crucial element in building effective community-wide response plans, especially in rural communities that may lack many of the resources found in urban areas.

Part 2: Supporting Communities in Times of Disaster

February 16, 2018 @ 9am CT/10am ET

In this webinar, Dr. Heidi Radunovich from the University of Florida, will provide information about best practices for providing support to those impacted by disaster. Recommendations for communication strategies will be provided, with special attention being given to the needs of specific audiences (e.g., children, first responders). Finally, a tool that is useful for working with communities after disaster, Triumph Over Tragedy 2nd Edition, will be described.

Webinar Recording: Part 1 // Webinar Recording: Part 2 // January 31st, 2018

Upcoming CRD Webinar
Creating a Sense of Community Through the 5 C’s of Social Capital and Cultural Competency

In a time of divisiveness in our nation, it is even more important for our communities to be able to have a sense of community – for people to live in a place where they feel they belong, where they can engage and contribute, and in return feel respected and valued. This is also essential for a community to operate at the speed of trust, able to respond to crises and opportunities that require action within a short time frame, and to foster development that is sustainable over the long term. This webinar will explore five elements of social capital through this lens, plus scenarios that portray cultural competency at its worst and best. You won’t want to miss it!

Learn More// January 30th, 2018

Southern CRD Webinar Series Continues:
How Can I Be of Service? Determining the Best Role for Community Engagement

Cooperative Extension has a mandate to assess community needs and assist with community issues, but how agents engage with communities will vary by topic, need and situation. This webinar is an interactive session that will explore different roles agents might fill as they work for community change. We will discuss the different roles Extension can serve when creating community change including: informing, being a catalyst for change, innovating change; or orchestrating change – and when and how these roles may change.

Dan Kahl is an Assistant Professor in the Community and Leadership Development Department and Assistant Director of CEDIK at the University of Kentucky. He is an Extension Specialist in community development with an emphasis in community leadership.

Learn More// January 2nd, 2018

Running a Food Hub, Volume 4: Learning from Food Hub Closures

USDA Rural Development has released the fourth volume of their Food Hub Technical Report Series. This report draws on national data and case studies to understand why some food hubs have failed in an effort to learn from their mistakes and identify general lessons so new and existing food hubs can overcome barriers to success.

Download Report// November 27th, 2017

Journal of the Community Development Society
Special Issue: Local Food Systems Development

The Southern Rural Development Center is proud to sponsor this special issue of the Journal of the Community Development Society that features a series of articles focused on a range of issues associated with local food system development. We are confident that you will find this special issue to be a useful resource for your work with communities seeking to advance themselves through local food systems development initiative. The SRDC also recognizes guest editors Dave Lamie of Clemson University and Steven Deller of the University of Wisconsin-Madison for their expertise and leadership on this special issue.

Learn More// November 22nd, 2017

Southern CRD Webinar Series Continues:
Starting a Rural Library Hotspot Lending Program

Libraries across the country are beginning to implement hotspot lending programs in an effort to bridge the digital divide in their communities. These programs loan out “hotspots” to library patrons for 1 week or more, allowing individuals without a connection to access the Internet from their own homes. Come learn more about how you can help get these programs up and running, including lessons learned from a pilot project with 4 rural libraries in Oklahoma.

Learn More// November 21st, 2017

Farm Service Agency and Rural Development State Directors Announced

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced new Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Rural Development (RD) State Directors. FSA State Directors help implement U.S. Department of Agriculture policies in planning, organizing, and administering programs in their respective states. Similarly, RD State Directors work to help improve the economy and quality of life in rural America. SRDC values all our USDA Rural Development and Farm Service Agency partners and look forward to meeting and working with these new leaders!

Learn More// November 8th, 2017

Louie Rivers, Jr. of Kentucky State University Awarded the 2017 Excellence in Extension Award

With visionary leadership, excellence in programming, and positive impact, Rivers has helped secure and manage more than $12 million in extramural funding to enhance Kentucky State University’s work with the small, limited-resource, minority, veteran and women farmers in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Participants of the Small Farmers Program have shown a $5,000 annual increase per participant. His leadership has impacted more the 20,000 individuals through "Third Thursday Thing", Kentucky State University’s monthly sustainable agriculture workshop. The Excellence in Extension and National Diversity awards are sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute for Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA) and the Cooperative Extension Section.

Learn More// October 23rd, 2017

A Field Guide to Ripple Effects Mapping Now Available

The second volume in the Minnesota Evaluation Studies Institute Program Evaluation Series focuses on the emerging evaluation technique of Ripple Effects Mapping (REM). Well-suited for evaluating group-focused efforts, Ripple Effects Mapping involves aspects of Appreciative Inquiry, mind mapping, facilitated discussion, and qualitative data analysis. Providing an in-depth examination of the origins, elements, and how-to of the REM process, the Field Guide to Ripple Effects Mapping is a step-by-step guide to successfully implementing this process with a group, collaboration, or community of choice.

Learn More// October 17th, 2017

Webinar Recording Now Available

The recording of the National CRD Indicators Team webinar, "Estimating the Economic Impact of Programs: Best Practices and Lessons Learned", is now available on the Regional Rural Development Centers website.

Learn More// October 4th, 2017

Southern CRD Webinar Series Continues:
The Role of Arts in Cooperative Extension

October 26, 2017 @ 9:00am CT/10:00am ET

This webinar will provide an overview of the role arts can play in extension. We will share strategies that have been successful in the state of Kentucky, from theater productions to pottery classes to market events for artist and crafters. The session will end with guiding principles of how arts can be applied successfully to extension work.

Learn More// September 22nd, 2017

USDA Announces more than $8.6 Million to Support Community Food Projects

Deadline to Apply: December 4, 2017

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced more than $8.6 million in available funding to assist low-income individuals and communities in developing food systems. This funding is available through NIFA’s Community Food Projects Competitive Grant Program.

The primary goals of the Community Food Projects Competitive Grant Program are to meet the food needs of low-income individuals, increase the self-reliance of communities in providing for their food needs, promote comprehensive responses to local food access, farm, and nutrition issues, and meet specific state, local or neighborhood food and agricultural needs.

Learn More// September 13th, 2017

National CRED Indicators Team Webinar:
Estimating the Economic Impact of Programs: Best Practices and Lessons Learned

October 3, 2017 @ 1:30pm CT/2:30pm ET

A brief overview of approaches used to estimate program impact. How IMPLAN has been used in Extension will be shared as well as best practices and lessons learned.

Presenters will be Nancy Bowen and Greg Davis. Nancy Bowen is a Community Economics Field Specialist focusing on community economic development programming and issues affecting communities throughout Ohio. Specialization areas include impact analysis, community and regional planning, BRE, entrepreneurship, and renewable energy development. Greg Davis serves as Assistant Director, Ohio State University Extension - Community Development. In this capacity he leads field-based Extension specialists and educators engaged in the development of community, organizational and individual capacity to improve civic, environmental and economic conditions throughout Ohio.

Learn More// September 7th, 2017

1890 Land Grant Univerisities Celebrate 127 Years

On August 30, 1890, the Second Morril Act was signed into law which created the nation's historically black land-grant colleges. Today, 1890 land-grant universities are a robust network of 19 universities with a legacy of educating first-generation and economically disadvantaged college students; enhancing the resilience of limited-resourced farmers, families, individuals, and underserved communities; and conducting cutting-edge research to generate new knowledge and solutions to address local, regional, and global challenges. After 127 years of experience and diversity in agricultural research, education, and extension, our 1890 LGUs are poised to develop leadership and human capital for our nation’s preeminence in the 21st century.

Learn More// August 31st, 2017

Call for Proposals:
Professional Agricultural Workers Conference, Tuskegee University

Deadline: October 15, 2017

THEME: 75th Anniversary: "Building Bridges to a Productive, Just and Sustainable Future" The College of Agriculture, Environment and Nutrition Sciences invites the submission of papers, posters, panel discussions and workshop proposals for its 75th Annual Professional Agricultural Workers Conference. We are accepting abstracts related to the theme and other related topics. The deadline for submission is October 15, 2017.

Learn More// August 30th, 2017

Webinar Registration Now Open: "Incorporating Health Insurance and Health Care into Farm and Ranch Viability and Risk Management"

October 10, 2017 @ 12:30pm CT/1:30pm ET

A webinar for Extension, Tax, Loan, Health, and Other Professionals. Plan to attend and leave with tools you can use. Through national focus groups, interviews and surveys, funded by USDA: Farmers and Ranchers, Extension, Tax and Health Professionals Spoke. All agreed.

Learn More// August 1st, 2017

Choosing the Best Legal Structure for Your 21st Century Small Business

August 8, 2017 @ 1:00pm CT/2:00pm ET

Becky Bowen, a community development specialist at NC State Cooperative Extension, is an attorney licensed in North Carolina, North Dakota, and Minnesota. Her presentation will review seven things to consider when choosing a legal structure for a small business as well as examine new economy trends in business structure choices.

Learn More// August 1st, 2017

The Development of Utility-Scale Solar: Tales of Local Government

July 27, 2017 @ 10:00pm CT/11:00am ET

The solar energy sector now employs more people than the coal energy sector. Cost reductions of technology and project development, ever increasing energy demands, and a groundswell of low-carbon energy demand are factors driving solar energy development. Local governments are on the frontlines of project development siting and permitting. Utility-scale solar projects have implications for land use, environment, and tax revenues. We will explore some stories of how Extension is working to ensure a bright future for this emerging market in Virginia and beyond.

Learn More// July 5th, 2017

SRDC is Pleased to Award Rebekka Dudensing and Susan Kelly with the Bonnie Teater Early Career Achievement Award

Steve Turner standing with Rebekka Dudensing.

The SRDC is proud to honor Rebekka Dudensing and Susan Kelly as co-recipients of the 2016 Bonnie Teater Early Career Achievement Award.

Dudensing is an Associate Professor and Extension Economist for the Department of Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M University. Within her field, Dr. Dudensing has performed many annual economic impact analyses for various organizations. In her short time working in economic development, she has produced several successful publications including The Food and Fiber System and Production Agriculture’s Contributions to the Texas Economy. Dudensing has also served on a number of regional committees including Chair of the SRDC Technical and Operational Advisory Committee and the Marketing Committee Chair for the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals (NACDEP).

Steve Turner standing with Susan Kelly.

Kelly is a County Extension Director with North Carolina Cooperative Extension. Much of her work has been with local food system development. She implemented the Green Fields Initiative in support of the Stronger Economies Together Initiative, and as part of this initiative, also developed a regional food hub. Kelly also focused her attention on the revitalization of downtown Rockingham, North Carolina. She has also been very active with NACDEP and is currently in her second term as Southern Region Representative and member of the Board of Directors.

Learn More// June 23rd, 2017

Utilizing Extension as a Tool to Preserve Your Community's Housing Stock

June 27, 2017 @ 1:00pm CT/2:00pm ET

Fort Valley State University’s Cooperative Extension program will highlight how they collaborated with a USDA Strike Force designated community to develop an affiliate of a national non-profit housing organization to help preserve the community’s affordable housing inventory by providing free home repairs and rehabilitation services for the elderly and disabled citizens.

Learn More// May 31st, 2017

Fostering Meaningful Civic Engagement, eXtension Webinar

June 30, 2017 @ 1:00pm CT/2:00pm ET

Engaging community members to help address important issues is both rewarding and impactful. But doing this well takes considerable time investments and skill development. Is the investment worth the return? What are the potential risks to engaging and also to not engaging? This webinar will explore these questions as well as showcase recent investments in civil dialogue by the first ECOP Rapid Response Team.

Learn More// May 26th, 2017

Stronger Economies Together (SET), Phase VII Regions Announced

The SET leadership team composed of SRDC, USDA Rural Development, and Purdue Center for Regional Development is proud to announce a new round of Stronger Economies Together regions. The Phase VII regions will be receiving focused coaching from teams of Cooperative Extension Service and USDA Rural Development specialists to guide them toward development of a regional economic plan. The selected regions are North East Arkansas Economic Development Coalition (AR), South East Arkansas Economic Development District (AR), Southern Indiana Development Commission (IN), Bootheel Synergy (MO), Uwharrie Region (NC), Mid Central Rural Corridor (NM), and South Eastern New Mexico (NM). Congratulations to these regions! We look forward to sharing their success stories in the coming months.

Learn More// May 23rd, 2017

A Comprehensive Downtown Revitalization Program for Rural Kentucky

May 31, 2017 @ 10:00am CT/11:00am ET

We will speak briefly about a new program designed to invigorate approximately 12 downtowns in rural Kentucky. We will highlight the following programs that focus on regionalism, small business development, community design and youth engagement:

CEDIK First Impressions program, CEDIK Community and Business Retention Program, KSBDC (Kentucky Small Business Development Center) Small Town Merchant Program, KSBDC and CEDIK GrowKY Program, Youth Engagement in Kentucky Downtowns, The creation of an 8-county Downtown network and mentoring program, Training on community foundation building and sustainability, Downtown marketing and communications using new broadband infrastructure, Community Design program – streetscape and walkability program.

Learn More// May 2nd, 2017

Sonny Perdue Sworn in as 31st U.S. Secretary of Agriculture

On Tuesday, April 25, Sonny Perdue was sworn in as the 31st U.S. Secretary of Agriculture by fellow Georgian and Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Clarence Thomas in a brief ceremony at the Supreme Court building. The U.S. Senate confirmed Secretary Perdue by a vote of 87-to-11 on Monday evening. Perdue's wife, Mary Ruff Perdue, held the Bible as he took the oath of office. He later addressed employees at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) before getting to work on his first day. USDA also launched his official Twitter handle: @SecretarySonny

Learn More// April 26th, 2017

Developmental Evaluation for Cooperative Extension Community Development Programs

April 27, 2017 @ 1:00pm CT/2:00pm ET

This webinar introduces Michael Q. Patton’s developmental evaluation approach as a potentially appropriate paradigm for Extension community development programs. Presenters will share how the MFLN uses developmental evaluation and what it might look like in day-to-day evaluation for community development educators.

Learn More// April 5th, 2017

CDC Shines Light on Critical Health Needs in Rural America

CDC has recently launched a rural health web portal. The portal, which will expand throughout the year, intends to provide an entry point into all of CDC’s rural health science, diseases prevention tools, and resources for organizations working in rural America. In 2017, CDC has issued the first reports in a year-long series on rural health in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The series tackles many aspects of rural health. The data signal opportunities for improved public health programs that support healthier behaviors and neighborhoods, and better access to healthcare services. This information will help CDC and partners in state, local, and tribal communities understand the disparities between rural and urban populations. Additional information on these disparities could increase targeted implementation of effective public health programs to improve the health of rural Americans.

Learn More// Rural Health Series March 23th, 2017

Southern CRD Webinar Series Continues: Show Me the Money- Funding and Financing Community and Economic Development

April 4, 2017 @ 10:00am CT/11:00am ET

Many communities and regions have great vision and plans, but are unable to bring them to completion due to lack of funding or financing. This webinar will present a comprehensive approach to funding and financing community and economic development in the 21st century, including 8 secrets to success, 12 major funding strategies, and exemplary case studies.

Learn More// March 22th, 2017

Community Assessment and Education to Promote Behavioral Health Planning and Evaluation (CAPE) Webinar

April 11, 2017 @ 11:00am CT/12:00pm ET

Deaths of Despair in Pennsylvania and Beyond: A Demographer’s Take on Drug, Alcohol and Suicide Mortality in Small City and Rural America. This webinar will describe trends in drug, alcohol, and suicide mortality in the U.S., explore some of the potential explanations for why rates have increased over the past 2 decades and why these deaths are more prevalent in certain geographic areas, and discuss what it will take to counter these trends. The webinar will also explore the role that community-level illness and despair played in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. No registration needed.

Learn More//March 16th, 2017

Rapid Response Team Webinar: Civil Discourse on Race Relations

May 17th, 2017 at 1:00pm CT/2:00pm ET

The Rapid Response Team on Civil Discourse, established by ECOP, is hosting a one-hour webinar to showcase findings and share potential next steps for this work. Please save the date and join in the conversation.

Learn More//Webinar Link March 16th, 2017

How Does Health Insurance Affect Farmers and Ranchers? Help Influence Rural Health Policy in Upcoming Survey.

Farmers and ranchers: How does health insurance affect you? Help influence rural health policy by participating in an upcoming USDA funded survey. Your responses will help researchers understand how health-insurance policy affects farmers’ and ranchers’ decisions to invest, expand, and grow their enterprises. This survey is a chance for farmers and ranchers to make their voices heard about their experiences with health insurance and how that affects both their economic development and family’s quality of life.

Learn More// Survey Link February 24th, 2017

New CDC Series on Rural Health Topics

Throughout 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will highlight rural healthcare issues in a special series of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). Covered so far are the leading causes of death in metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas, and health-related behaviors classified by county. Upcoming topics may include chronic diseases, healthy behaviors, reproductive health, injuries and exposures, and agriculture safety and health.

Learn More// February 23th, 2017

SRDC is Pleased to Announce the Stronger Economies Together (SET) Phase VII States

After reviewing the applications the following six states have been chosen for the upcoming Stronger Economies Together (SET) Phase VII, Arkansas, Indiana, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Oklahoma. SET enables communities and counties in rural America to work together in developing and implementing an economic development blueprint for their multi-county region that strategically builds on the current and emerging economic strengths of that region.

Learn More// February 14th, 2017

Cooperative Extension & Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Webinar Series

March 9, 2017 & April 6, 2017

A 2-part webinar series is scheduled for all of Extension to learn more about a new partnership between Cooperative Extension and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The purpose of the 10-year partnership is to build a Culture of Health in communities across America in 2017 and beyond. In March, Cooperative Extension Section institutions can apply. Five will be selected as pilots this summer to launch the program. All institutions will have the chance to engage in other ways, including professional development opportunities.

Learn More// February 13th, 2017

Bonnie Teater Award Nominations Due March 11th

Each year, the SRDC honors someone who has excelled in community development work within Extension Service in the South. On odd numbered years, we seek to honor a person with the Bonnie Teater Community Development Early Career Achievement award. Nominations are now being accepted. Please consider nominating someone that has excelled in this arena. The nominee must be currently employed by one of the 29 land-grant universities located in the Southern Rural Development Center region, serve as an administrator, specialist or agent who has worked in the Extension CD area for 10 years or less; and have an impressive portfolio of Extension-related programs and publications.

Learn More// January 24th, 2017

Cambio de Colores (Change of Colors) Call for Presentations

Deadline: February 6, 2017

The conference theme this year is “Todos Juntos: Collaboration and Unity in Uncertain Times.” Todos Juntos means “all together”, and seeks to build collaboration across sectors and unite communities across differences in the common goal of supporting everyone’s wellbeing in our changing, multicultural communities. Diversity is our strength, especially when we work together, and now is the time for collaboration across disciplines, silos, sectors, perspectives and cultures to create bridges of opportunity. The conference will be held June 14-16, 2017 in St. Louis, Missouri.

Learn More// January 19th, 2017

USDA Announces Grants Available to Support the Local Foods Sector

Deadline: March 27, 2017

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) today announced the availability of $27 million in grants to fund innovative projects designed to strengthen market opportunities for local and regional food producers and businesses. AMS today announced the request for applications for the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program, which includes Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) and Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP) grants, and the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP). These programs and other resources across USDA are helping to revitalize rural America by supporting local and regional food stakeholders.

Learn More// January 11th, 2017

Sustainable Communities: Online Course Explores Community Systems

February 2, 2017 // Register before January 27, 2017

The Foundations of Practice course, Sustainable Communities, offers you the tools, skills and knowledge to be the trusted resource community groups need in the emerging dialogs around local foods, energy and natural resources. This training, brought to you by the Cooperative Extension System and the Regional Rural Development Centers, provides the background, resources and strategies to support your work in communities. The eight-week series begins February 2, 2017. Each week features a 90-minute webinar focusing on timely topics including Energy, Local Foods, Built Environments, Mobility and Natural Resources.

Learn More// January 3rd, 2017

New Community Leadership Articles from Kenneth Pigg

Effective community leaders know their community inside and out. They are confident, bringing residents together and passing on that same sense of empowerment. These leaders encourage diversity, different types of people working toward the same end goal, as the solution to solving community problems. These articles from Kenneth Pigg will help you navigate and become a better community leader.

Learn More// January 3rd, 2017

eXtension Foundation Diversity and Inclusion Issue Corps- Call for Proposals

Deadline: January 5, 2016

The eXtension Foundation is seeking proposals for 35 projects focused on improving Diversity and Inclusion within Cooperative Extension, its partners, and the public. We are seeking projects that can have a visible, measurable impact at the local level. The eXtension Issue Corps process combines virtual and face-to-face events (a designathon) and experiences to assist in project development, program innovation, use of technology, innovative design, problem solving, and gaining expertise focused on the solutions needed..

Learn More// November 7th, 2016

2017 CDS/NACDEP National Conference - Call for Proposals

Deadline: November 18, 2016

The Community Development Society (CDS) and the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals (NACDEP) are requesting proposals for refereed presentations and posters relating to community development. Submissions relating to the joint conference theme, "Big Skies: Bold Partnerships-Moving Mountains Together" are encouraged, but all submissions will be given full consideration. The conference will take place on June 11-14, 2017 in Big Sky, Montana.

Learn More To submit a proposal //November 7th, 2016

Stronger Economies Together: Helping Rural Counties Excel through Regional Approaches

Stronger Economies Together (SET) is a joint partnership of USDA Rural Development, NIFA, the four Regional Rural Development Centers (RRDCs) and the cooperative extension services operated by the nation’s land-grant universities. With this partnership, regions of three or more neighboring rural counties coordinate to identify their collective economic strengths, develop an action plan and build on those assets to find a competitive edge for economic growth.

One success we've already see through the SET program is in Oklahoma where the Drying Canola Project was able to diversify agriculture, produce better crops and will gain an estimated $7.2 million in additional income. This is just one of the many success stories we have seen from the 84 SET regions around the country.

Learn More// October 5th, 2016

Showcasing Successful Business Development Projects in Stronger Economies Together-Regions Webinar

USDA Rural Development held a Webinar September 22nd discussing four of many of Stronger Economies Together's success stories. The four regions that were highlighted are The Northern Neck Region in Virginia, Badlands Bad River Region in South Dakota, I-40 Corridor in Wester Oklahoma, and SET Forever Region in Northeast Louisiana.

Learn More// September 26th, 2016

SRDC Congratulates Dr. Keith Coble, the Newly Announced Department Head of Agricultural Economics at Mississippi State

Coble, a 19-year veteran of Mississippi State, has taken on the role of department head after previously serving as interim head for the last eight months. Coble holds a teaching appointment in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, a research appointment in the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, and an outreach appointment in the MSU Extension Service.  Coble earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural education from the University of Missouri. He earned a doctoral degree in agricultural economics from Texas A&M University and also served as chief economist for Sen. Thad Cochran.

Learn More// September 14th, 2016

Foundations of Practice: Understanding Communities Online Course Offers Tools for Community Development

October 6- November 17, 2016

Understanding Communities and Their Dynamics is a Level 1 introduction for the Foundations of Practice Program. It is appropriate for individuals working with community groups in any subject area. The seven-week series begins October 6, 2016 and concludes November 17, 2016. Each week features a 90-minute webinar focusing on topics including demographics, economic development, strategic planning and power structures. Supplemental resources and online discussion opportunities will be available on the course website. Participants should plan to log in at their convenience during the week to explore these topics further, pose questions, investigate additional resources and visit with colleagues in similar situations.

Learn More// September 12th, 2016

Rural Business-Cooperative Service Informational Webinars

September is “Rural Development Month” at the Department of Agriculture (USDA), and USDA’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBS) is holding a series of informational webinars to share success stories and best practices on how customers and partner organizations have used RBS programs and resources to support businesses in rural and Tribal communities. Customers and stakeholders interested in learning more about RBS programs—and how customers have used our financing tools to support entrepreneurship—are encouraged to participate in this opportunity to engage with diverse partner organizations, ask questions, and learn more. For additional information, or to request special accommodations, please contact rdced@wdc.usda.gov.

Learn More// September 7th, 2016

SRDC Congratulates the National and Regional Winners of the 2016 NACDEP Awards

SRDC would like to congratulate all of the national and regional winners of the 2016 National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals Awards. We would like to especially recognize Southern winners, members of the CEDIK Team and the Center for Leadership Development from the University of Kentucky, for receiving several national and regional awards. A special shout-out goes to Marisa Aull who received both the National and Southern Regional Cross-Program Award as well as the National JCEP Professional of the Year Award.

Learn More// August 15th, 2016

Understanding Communities: Online Course Offers Tools for Community Development

Understanding Communities and Their Dynamics is a Level 1 introduction for the Foundations of Practice Program. It is appropriate for individuals working with community groups in any subject area. The seven-week series begins October 6, 2016 and concludes November 17, 2016. Each week features a 90-minute webinar focusing on topics including demographics, economic development, strategic planning and power structures. Supplemental resources and online discussion opportunities will be available on the course website. Participants should plan to log in at their convenience during the week to explore these topics further, pose questions, investigate additional resources and visit with colleagues in similar situations.

Learn More// August 15th, 2016

SRDC and the State Resource Team are Pleased to Announce the Stronger Economies Together (SET), Phase VI Regions

After reviewing the applications the State Resource Team has announced the regions that will be obtaining technical assistance through Stronger Economies Together, Phase VI: North Central Indiana Regional Planning Council (IN), Ozark Foothills (MO), East Central New Mexico (NM), Central South Carolina SET Collaborative (SC), Glacial Lakes (SD), Texas Forest Country Partnership (TX) and 7 Rivers Alliance-Monroe, Juneau, Jackson (WI). One region, Region 4 Northern Collaboration (MI), will receive pilot training through Leaders in Economic Alliance and Development (LEAD), a technical assistance program.

> Learn More// July 7th, 2016

SRDC is Pleased to Award Dr. Ronald Hustedde with the Bonnie Teater Lifetime Achievement Award

Steve Turner standing with Ronald Hustedde.

The SRDC is proud to honor Dr. Ronald Hustedde as the 2016 recipient of the Bonnie Teater Community Development Educator Lifetime Achievement Award. Hustedde is an Extension Professor in the Department of Community & Leadership Development at the University of Kentucky. Working in Extension for 25 years, Hustedde has been recognized for his work in community development both nationally and internationally. Throughout his impressive career he has written many publications, the most impactful being his SRDC training manual Public Conflict: Turning Lemons into Lemonade.

Learn More// July 5th, 2016

2016 Breakthrough Solutions Conference to be held Friday, July 8th

The 2016 Breakthrough Solutions Conference will be held on Friday, July 8th by the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service with pre-conference workshops on July 7th. Speaking on the theme "What Smart Communities are Doing to Stand Out", we will hear from Greg Tehven, Executive Director of Emerging Prairie, Fargo, ND. You will also hear about community projects and opportunities in eight high priority issue areas. For more information and to register:

Learn More// June 28th, 2016

"The Changing American Diet", a new study by USDA

The USDA's Food Availability Date System has been studying the "Changing American Diet". The program can estimate how much foods are being produced and how much people are eating, dating from 1970 to 2013. In the major food categories we can see a progression of certain food items from year to year. For example, a major increase in the use of cooking oil happened in 2000, and chicken became the most consumed meat in 2004.

Learn More// June 28th, 2016

Southern CRD Webinar Series Continues:
Using Aging-In-Place to Connect At-Risk Youth and Seniors:

July 20th, 2016 10:00am CT/11:00am ET

The Innovative Dads Program uses local fathers from churches, who are trained by me and a local Pastor (Gerard Duncan) who is a building maintenance superintendent, to perform repairs to homes in under served areas of Gainesville, FL. The fathers gain access to elderly residents€™ homes in the area because they are trusted due to the Pastor's connections to the neighborhoods. Further, the fathers bring local youth into the homes to observe the upgrades so the youth can learn how to repair homes and also learn the trust and bond being created within their neighborhood by working in elderly folks' homes. This program aims to reduce the number of elderly residents who visit the emergency room due to accidental falls in the home and to reduce the number of youth who otherwise would be out on the local streets looking for something to do after school hours, which typically leads to negative behavior.

Learn More// June 10th, 2016

SRDC would like to thank Sheldon Jones for his contribution to the center

Sheldon Jones standing with Brent Elrod and Don Albrechit.

Sheldon Jones was honored at the Western Rural Development Center annual board meeting on behalf of all four Regional Rural Development Centers for his outstanding contributions to their collective work. Jones has served on all four RRDC boards as the Farm Foundation Representative for nearly eight years. This honor comes as Jones is stepping down from the Farm Foundation to take on a new position in North Carolina. Reflecting on his time with the RRDC Jones said, “I have thoroughly enjoyed addressing the challenges and taking advantage of the opportunities your regions had addressed individually and collectively.”

June 1st, 2016

Upcoming Conference:

2016 NACDEP/ANREP Annual Conference

June 26-29, 2016 : Burlington, VT

For the first time, NACDEP and ANREP are teaming up for a Joint Annual Conference June 26-29, 2016 at the Sheraton Hotel in beautiful and vibrant Burlington, Vermont. Between our memberships, we are anticipating over 350 attendees, providing an excellent opportunity to broaden your Extension Network, present and learn from your peers, and learn from an expanded topic menu.

Learn More// May 18th, 2016

Southern CRD Webinar Series Continues: Tourism in Extension:

How We Assist Landowners, Communities and the Public at Large

June 22nd, 2016 11:00am CT/Noon ET

Miles Phillips and Stephen Brueggerhoff of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension will discuss their Extension work in Tourism. If you would like a background on this material follow the links below for a short video from both of them. https://youtu.be/eqJ7omyRB00 and https://youtu.be/_JyGlaa-8Kk

Learn More// May 16th, 2016

Land Grant University Programs Helped Keep Farmers on the Farm

Land grant university programs helped keep farmers on the farm: Federal cooperative extension programs have helped more than 137,000 farmers stay in business since 1985, according to economists.

In a study, the researchers said that 137,700 farmers would have left the industry without the federal program, which uses research from the country's land grant universities to provide education and learning opportunities to farmers and other citizens. Without cooperative extension, and the underlying research, the researchers estimated that the country would have lost 28 percent more farmers than actually left agriculture.

Learn More// April 28th, 2016

Value- Added Producer Grant Webinar Recording Available

The Southern Rural Development Center hosted the Value-Added Producer Grant Webinar on March 10th, 2016. Rural Development staff provided an overview of the Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program, including purpose, basic program requirements, and resources, preparing participants for introductory outreach to potential applicants and stakeholder groups. The recording of the webinar is listed below.

Tracey Kennedy, VAPG Program Lead, Rural Business Cooperative Service. Tracey has been involved with the RBS Grants Division since 2006. Prior to that she served as an Agricultural Economist specializing in international trade and horticultural and specialty crop marketing in the Agricultural Cooperative Service. 

Shantelle Gordon, Management Analyst, Rural Business Cooperative Service. Shantelle has been with the VAPG program since 2014. Prior to that she served as a Program Analyst for Rural Development Single Family Housing Programs including Section 502 Loans, 504 Grants and 523 Technical Assistance Grants. 

Link to Webinar Recording

SRDC is pleased to be a partner with University of Kentucky and CEDIK - Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky on this project:

USDA Announces Grants to Support Strategies to Reduce Child Food Insecurity in Rural Communities

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the USDA Rural Child Poverty Nutrition Center at the University of Kentucky awarded $1.3 million in grants to help reduce child food insecurity in 17 rural communities. The funding, ranging from $50,000 to $100,000, will help these rural communities implement creative strategies to improve access to federal nutrition assistance for families and children. Secretary Vilsack made the announcement during a panel discussion on the current state of food and nutrition in America hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Learn More

Bonnie Teater Award Nominations Due March 31st

The Southern Rural Development Center is pleased to announce that nominations are being sought for the Bonnie Teater Community Development Educator Lifetime Achievement Award for 2016. The following provides specific information regarding this important award and the deadline date for nominations to be received. The award is for superior lifetime work by an individual (not a team) who has made an important contribution to the Extension Community Development (CD) area. The award comes with a $500 stipend.

 Learn More

Upcoming Webinars

How to Start Diaster Planning for Your Region - Thursday, January 28th, 2016 - Noon CT/ 1 p.m. ET

 Learn More

Shoestring Evaluation: New Hampshire’s Experience Measuring CRED Impacts with Limited Resources and Expertise -Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016 - 2:00 p.m. CT/ 3:00 p.m. ET

 Learn More

You've got the Position Now, Make Sure you Have the Talent - Tuesday, March 29th, 2016 - 10: a.m. CT/ 11 a.m. ET

More Information Coming     

January 25th, 2016

New Director for SRDC

SRDC is pleased to announce the selection of its new director, Dr. Steve Turner, who has served as head of the MSU Department of Agricultural Economics for 12 years.  Dr. Turner will officially begin as the Center’s director Jan. 1.

Turner, a graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, came to MSU in 2003 after a 17-year career at the University of Georgia as a professor in its Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics.  During Turner’s tenure, the MSU Department of Agricultural Economics has averaged seven awards, 104 undergraduates, 20 graduate students, 24 refereed journal articles, and $664,161 in external grants and contracts per year.

His previous organizational leadership appointments include one year as president of the Southern Agricultural Economics Association and three years as chair of the Board of Directors for the Council on Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics.

Learn More    |   December 17, 2015

Launching of SET Phase VI

We are pleased to announce the launching of Phase VI of the Stronger Economies Together (SET) program.  This phase will give special attention to high poverty and persistent poverty counties, using the newly revised curriculum launched as part of Phase V.  The latest version of SET incorporates a number of significant improvements, such as adding a civic forum to increase citizen input and a more streamlined approach which reduces the number of modules.  Moreover, regions are given greater flexibility to adapt the modules in ways that best align with the capacity of that region. Most importantly, significant time will be devoted to helping regions move from planning to implementation.

Learn More    |   December 3, 2015

Developing and Implementing an Effective E-commerce Program Webinar

December 16th, 2015 9 a.m. CT/ 10 a.m. ET

Effectively using the Internet and broadband technologies are crucial for many rural small businesses; however, many of these businesses do not have the necessary experience or knowledge. This webinar will introduce the Oklahoma State University E-Commerce program that addresses this gap by providing businesses with the tools and hands-on experiences necessary to become active online. This webinar will highlight workshops, teaching approaches, success stories and evaluation metrics.

Link to Webinar    |   Novem ber 17, 2015

Getting Community Stakeholders to Identify Water Quality Issues and Priorities Using Liberating Structures Webinar

November 10th, 2015 1pm CT/2pm ET

Cooperative Extension professionals have a long history of providing public issues education and encouraging civic engagement with the intention of inspiring local leadership to address challenging and often controversial issues. Public issues deliberation often creates strife among community residents with different groups struggling to come to consensus on how to tackle local problems. Cooperative Extension professionals pride themselves on their “toolbox” of methods for helping communities overcome such challenges. The method of Liberating Structures is one method for hosting inclusive meetings that generate ideas from everyone rather than the vocal minority. In Arkansas, Extension specialists led local residents of impaired watersheds to set priorities for addressing nonpoint source pollution management. This is often a difficult task to achieve between a broad base of stakeholders that includes agricultural producers, land owners, conservationist and agency personnel. Arkansas Extension specialists used this method to get residents of local watersheds to see how they share common interests rather than opposing perspectives on local issues with water quality.

This webinar will provide attendees with an overview of the liberating structures methods used in the Arkansas Nonpoint Source Pollution Management water quality stakeholder forums, highlights from the water quality forums, recommendations for using liberating structures in other public issue engagement forums.

Learn More    |   November 4, 2015

New Director of the NCRCRD

jakesOn behalf of Dr. Ray Hammerschmidt, Director, Michigan State University Extension we are delighted to announce that Dr. Mark Skidmore has been named director of the North Central Region Center for Rural Development (NCRCRD). He will take over the duties from Dr. Scott Loveridge effective January 1, 2016. We look forward to him continuing the NCRCRD’s work with Extension professionals, researchers and their partners to enhance rural development outcomes in the 12-state north central region (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin).

Learn More    |   October 21, 2015


Presenter:  Scott Chazdon, Ph.D., Evaluation and Research Specialist, Extension Center for Community Vitality, University of Minnesota

Description: How do we articulate our impact? Quantitative evaluation data informs, but does not necessarily inspire.  A good story evokes strong feelings, and often endures in memory. This webinar highlights a qualitative evaluation method that combines a public value framework with storytelling.

The presentation will review key lessons learned from the Most Significant Change project, implemented in the Fall 2014 in University of Minnesota Extension's Central region. This project collected, reviewed and selected the stories from across Extension that demonstrated the most public value -- the direct and indirect, deep impact Extension programs have on individuals, families, groups, communities and ultimately the common good.

At this session, you will hear about the process used to collect impact stories, see examples of stories, and learn about the "public value impact story rubric," a tool for writing and evaluating the public value components of an impact narrative.

Learn More    |  Link To Webinar  |   October 8, 2015

A New Season of the Friday Chat at Power of Business Begins

November 6, 2015 11:15am CT/ 12:15 ET on Cybersecurity

Join us at 11: 15 CT every first Friday of the month.
Upcoming events are December and January on Marketing.

Register here for Novembers Live Chat

For more information on upcoming Friday Webinars please register http://powerofbusiness.net to get on the mailing list for notifications, newsletter or both.

Learn More    |    October 5, 2015

Community Resource Development Webinar Series - Youth Engagement Leadership Program (YELP)

October 16th, 2015
10:00am Central/ 11:00am Eastern

The Youth Engagement Leadership Program (YELP) is a Kentucky youth leadership program that builds partnerships with local Cooperative Extension agents, the local school district, elected officials and the business community.  The program began in 2013 as a pilot project with Appalachian Regional Commission and has now expanded to 5 counties as of August 2015 with 5 additional counties scheduled to being in the fall of 2016. 

Link to Webinar

Learn More About Yelp    |    September 22, 2015

“Why Local Food Matters: Views from the National Landscape” webinar draws national audience

Debra Tropp, USDA Ag Marketing Services, presented a wealth of information on the subject of local foods.  Among the topics explored were:  (1) What do we mean by local foods, (2) Relationship of local foods to U.S. food system, (3) What does the future of local food look like, and (4) How do Ag Marketing Services programs facilitate market access for local foods.  If you missed this phenomenal webinar, you can still access this rich information through the recorded webinar or you can access the PowerPoint to explore at your own pace.

Learn More    |    September 10, 2015

Rural Housing and Economic Development Call for Proposals

NARDeP (National Agriculture and Rural Development Policy Center) seeks proposals for a book chapter and policy brief describing research and/or outreach programs that address problems associated with housing and economic development in rural areas of the United States. Inadequate housing in many rural areas tends to impair opportunities for healthy living and suppresses economic development. We have special interest on work from the disciplines of economics, family and consumer science, planning, sociology or related fields.

Learn More    |    September 2, 2015

Funding Available for Programs in Nutrition Assistance Programs

SRDC partners with The University of Kentucky for projects that creatively increase coordination among USDA nutrition assistance programs. The Rural Child Poverty Nutrition Center at The University of Kentucky will announce available funding on July 24, 2015,The project is aimed at providing nutrition assistance to families who live in 324 persistently poor counties across 15 states. Organizations in those eligible counties may apply for $50,000 total to implement their project, and up to 25 grantees will be selected. 

Learn More    |    July 22, 2015

Latinos in the New South: Inclusive Research & Extension Programming DATE CHANGE


Hotel : The Florida Hotel
1500 Sand Lake Road
Orlando, FL  32809

August 27 : Meeting Noon – 5:00 (lunch provided)
August 28 : Meeting 8:00 – 1:00

Shuttle : The hotel is located 6 miles from the Orlando International Airport.  Transportation from the airport to the hotel is provided by Mears Transportation.  $30 round trip for shuttle service, or $27 one-way for taxi.  Call Mears Transportation Group at 407-423-5566 to book your pick up or visit online at http://www.mearstransportation.com/global/orlando/.

Learn More    |    June 24, 2015

SRDC is Pleased to Award Dr. Susan Jakes with the Bonnie Teater Award

jakesThe Southern Rural Development Center is proud to honor Dr. Susan Jakes as the 2015 recipient of the Bonnie Teater Community Development Early Career Achievement Award. Jakes is a member of the Department of Psychology at North Carolina State University.

Dr. Jakes is the Associate State Program Leader of Community and Rural Development for the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service at North Carolina State University. In this capacity, she provides the strategic direction for community and economic programming for Extension and is the university’s point person for integration of economic development programming with Extension’s flagship initiatives of Agriculture, Local Foods, and Youth Development.

Learn More    |    June 3, 2015

Community Leadership Article Series

Effective community leaders know their community inside and out. They are confident, bringing residents together and passing on that same sense of empowerment. These leaders encourage diversity, different types of people working toward the same end goal, as the solution to solving community problems. A community is a group of people who need each other to survive and succeed, and effective leaders can be the catalyst to initiate change and guide community members to success. Kenneth Pigg outlines these topics in his community leadership articles.

Learn More    |    March 13, 2015

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