It is a well-known fact that most of our nation’s persistently high poverty counties are located in the rural South. The economic, educational, social, historical and cultural challenges faced by local residents in these geographic areas are pervasive. Our land-grant system must accelerate its efforts to better understand and address these issues through appropriate mechanisms and strategies.
In addition to a concerted focus on low-wealth areas of the South, the SRDC and its land-grant partners must work to advance the capacity of rural communities to respond effectively and efficiently to episodes of major distress. Such Distress may be the result of changes sparked by the closure of a major industry, the influx of sizable numbers of new residents or major natural or man-made disasters.