Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient Alan Barefield


Alan Barefield


The Southern Rural Development Center is proud to honor Dr. Alan Barefield as the 2014 recipient of the Bonnie Teater Community Development Educator Lifetime Achievement Award . Barefield, who has 20 years of exemplary rural economic development service, is currently serving as Extension professor at Mississippi State University’s Department of Agricultural Economics.

Beginning his Extension career in Tennessee before moving to Mississippi in 2003, Dr. Barefield continues to make a significant contribution via service to the field of community and economic development outreach. As colleague Dr. David Hughes noted, “Dr. Barefield is one of the true pillars of the community development Extension profession.”

His positive impacts on community development are evident at the local, state, regional and national levels. “He makes opportunities to develop relationships because he truly cares about people…As I meet more people in more and more places, I become even more proud to be associated with Dr. Barefield and his work,” stated colleague Dr. Rebecca Smith.

Dr. Barefield has made significant contributions in the areas of business retention and expansion, small business development and entrepreneurship, regional economic analysis, community college development, workforce development, leadership, rural health, and water systems infrastructure, garnering well over $3 million in support for this work.

As one stakeholder stated, “When I met Dr. Barefield, I was impressed with his accomplishments as documented in his CV; however, it is his work as an adult educator and his hands on approach that have left a lasting impression…I can depend on him to suggest something that never crossed my mind, but could mean the difference in a good idea and a great one that could truly make a difference.” -- Melissa Parker, Deputy Director, MS State Dept. of Health

When asked what he would most like to be remembered for, his reply: “If I’m remembered for anything, I would hope that it would be for doing whatever I could to help the people of the state in which I’m working and to always strive to follow the founding Extension mission and creed.”

For Barefield’s long, distinguished career spent making a difference in the economies of rural communities and in the lives of those he has taught and worked alongside, it is most fitting that he be honored as the 2014 recipient of the SRDC’s Bonnie Teater Community Development Educator Lifetime

About the Bonnie Teater Lifetime Achievement Award

Bonnie Teater is a special individual to friends of the Southern Rural Development Center. For 30 years, she provided valuable support and day- to-day assistance to the Center as a member of its staff. She served as an inspiration to all because of the dedication she brought to her work and her passion for the rural development research and Extension outreach mission of the region’s land-grant schools. She currently is enjoying retirement in her home state of Kentucky

Award Selection Process

The Lifetime Achievement Award is sponsored by the Southern Rural Development Center for the purpose of honoring the work of a community development professional who has achieved great things in his/her career in community development. Individuals must meet the following qualifications for eligibility:

  • Currently employed by one of the 29 land-grant universities located in the Southern Rural Development Center region,
  • 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 within the past 12 months and who, at the time of his/her retirement, met the conditions outlined above, is eligible for consideration.
Furthermore, it is required that nomination packets be assembled and submitted to the SRDC by the deadline date. These packets include:
  • A primary letter of nomination prepared by an Extension educator or administrator in the South who has an excellent command of the accomplishments of the nominee
  • Select examples of CD Products developed by the nominee
  • Support letters from up to three individuals who are knowledgeable of the nominee’s Extension CD work, and who can affirm the significance of the person’s achievements in advancing CD work within a variety of arenas (i.e. state, region, national, international)

All packets submitted by the deadline date are evaluated by a subcommittee of the SRDC Technical and Operational Advisory Committee (TOAC), a group composed of land-grant university faculty and other rural development partners in the region. It is this subcommittee that selects the Lifetime Achievement awardees.