The following document outlines key accomplishments realized over the course of the 2007 fiscal year, as well as a plan of work that offers a blueprint of what the SRDC will be pursuing in FY2008. Our document showcases important initiatives that the Center has spearheaded over the past year, projects that reflect a good mix of rural development-related research and Extension outreach activities undertaken either on a regional or national basis. Noteworthy are the important partnerships that were formed during the course of developing and implementing these major activities. These include strong ties with our land-grant colleagues across the region and beyond, the Economic Research Service/USDA, the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SSARE) program, the Ford Foundation, rural community colleges in the South, the national eXtension leadership team, and the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES). The bottom line is that without these important partners being at the table, the quality and effectiveness of our work simply would have been compromised.
The focus of our FY2008 request is on “Changing Needs in Changing Times.” It is intended to reflect, in part, the major effort the Center undertook the over past one and one-half years to gather the input and insights of nearly 600 Southern residents at 19 sites across the entire Southern region. These inputs were then reviewed and vetted by a special strategic planning team that the SRDC organized to help identify the Center’s new strategic priorities. These priorities were then carefully reviewed by the Center’s Technical and Operational Advisory Committee (composed of land-grant faculty and non-Land-Grant representatives from the South) and submitted for approval by the SRDC Board of Directors. Without question, the process allowed the Center’s stakeholders to have a visible and influential role in shaping the priorities of the SRDC.
As a result of these “on the ground” activities, the SRDC was able to develop three new priorities. These are:
- Fostering Civic-Minded Communities;
- Building Economically Vibrant Communities;
- Expanding Opportunities for Distressed and Low-Wealth Communities.
This year’s accomplishment report, as well as our FY2008 plan of work, is developed along these three key priorities.
Details about the mentioned topic: