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

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

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).

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

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

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 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. and

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.

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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.

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Upcoming Webinars

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

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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

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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

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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