The Southern Rural Development Center seeks to strengthen the capacity of the region's 29 land-grant institutions to address critical contemporary rural development issues impacting the well-being of people and communities in the rural South.
- Stimulate the formation of multi-state research teams
- Coordinate the development and revision of educational materials and maintain a centralized repository of educational resources
- Organize and deliver high priority rural development research and educational workshops/conferences
- Provide leadership for the preparation of science-based rural development policy reports
- Build partnerships that link the South's land-grant university system with other key entities committed to rural development activities in the region
With critical financial support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the SRDC launched a systematic effort to hear from the people of the South. An important first step was the initiation of an information gathering phase that started in May 2006 and continued over a six-month period. With seed funding provided by the Kellogg Foundation, land-grant university teams responded to the SRDC’s call to host state-based rural development roundtables. In all, 19 sessions were successfully conducted across 14 Southern states. A diversity of voices engaged in these roundtables, including representatives from education, government, business/economic development, social services, civic, philanthropic, family/youth and faith-based sectors.
Nearly 600 people shared their perspectives on the most significant rural development issues impacting their states – issues they felt deserved serious attention by the region’s 29 land-grant universities. These included ideas on the research, technical assistance and outreach education efforts that these institutions should address over the next five years. Three issues emerged time and time again as being critical priorities to the well-being of rural people and communities. These key priorities were:
- Fostering Civic-Minded Communities
- Building Economically Vibrant Communities
- Enhancing Opportunities in Distressed and Low-Wealth Communities
Blueprint for the Rural South: Discovering New Ideas/ Applying New Strategies. A Five-Year Strategic Plan for the Southern Rural Development Center
Access the full Southern Rural Development Roundtable Reports