Featured News

U.S. not getting broadband fast enough

August 20, 2010

According to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, between 14 million and 24 million Americans still lack access to broadband internet, and immediate prospects for deployment to them are futile.

This new stance by the FCC contradicts previous statements which had said that high-speed internet service was being made available to all Americans in a timely fashion.

The statement was part of a comprehensive report by the federal agency that attempts to measure the country's progress in closing the "digital divide" that separates relatively wealthy, wired communities from less affluent, sparsely populated areas with no access to affordable broadband.

The report found disproportionately large segments of people without broadband access in rural areas of North Carolina, Texas, South Carolina, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kentucky, among other states.

The FCC's sixth statement on the subject, since it was mandated to do so by the Telecommunications Act of 1996, is "the first really credible effort" by the agency to deliver findings based on quality data, said FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps.

"The sixth time is the charm," he added. "The documented failure to connect millions upon millions of Americans disproves previous FCC findings that broadband is being reasonably and timely deployed."

While the adoption of broadband has grown "significantly" over the last decade, "we still have a long way to go to ensure that all Americans have broadband access," Copps said.

High-speed internet providers have said it is not economically feasible for them to install broadband in areas with few potential subscribers.

The FCC supports the growth of broadband through public-private partnerships and announced in March that it hopes to use educational programs and an expansion of internet infrastructure to give 90 percent of Americans high-speed web access at home by 2020.

Currently, about 65 percent of Americans have high-speed internet access at home, which the FCC says is a disadvantage to economic growth.

The FCC report also updates a key standard -- the speed used to determine whether households are served by broadband.

For more information, visit CNN.

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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 underserved 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. https://youtu.be/eqJ7omyRB00 and https://youtu.be/_JyGlaa-8Kk

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.

Learn More

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.

 Learn More

Upcoming Webinars

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

 Learn More

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

 Learn More

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

New Director for SRDC

SRDC is pleased to announce the selection of its new director, Dr. Steve Turner, who has served as head of the MSU Department of Agricultural Economics for 12 years.  Dr. Turner will officially begin as the Center’s director Jan. 1.

Turner, a graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, came to MSU in 2003 after a 17-year career at the University of Georgia as a professor in its Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics.  During Turner’s tenure, the MSU Department of Agricultural Economics has averaged seven awards, 104 undergraduates, 20 graduate students, 24 refereed journal articles, and $664,161 in external grants and contracts per year.

His previous organizational leadership appointments include one year as president of the Southern Agricultural Economics Association and three years as chair of the Board of Directors for the Council on Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics.

Learn More    |   December 17, 2015

Launching of SET Phase VI

We are pleased to announce the launching of Phase VI of the Stronger Economies Together (SET) program.  This phase will give special attention to high poverty and persistent poverty counties, using the newly revised curriculum launched as part of Phase V.  The latest version of SET incorporates a number of significant improvements, such as adding a civic forum to increase citizen input and a more streamlined approach which reduces the number of modules.  Moreover, regions are given greater flexibility to adapt the modules in ways that best align with the capacity of that region. Most importantly, significant time will be devoted to helping regions move from planning to implementation.

Learn More    |   December 3, 2015

Developing and Implementing an Effective E-commerce Program Webinar

December 16th, 2015 9 a.m. CT/ 10 a.m. ET

Effectively using the Internet and broadband technologies are crucial for many rural small businesses; however, many of these businesses do not have the necessary experience or knowledge. This webinar will introduce the Oklahoma State University E-Commerce program that addresses this gap by providing businesses with the tools and hands-on experiences necessary to become active online. This webinar will highlight workshops, teaching approaches, success stories and evaluation metrics.

Link to Webinar    |   Novem ber 17, 2015

Getting Community Stakeholders to Identify Water Quality Issues and Priorities Using Liberating Structures Webinar

November 10th, 2015 1pm CT/2pm ET

Cooperative Extension professionals have a long history of providing public issues education and encouraging civic engagement with the intention of inspiring local leadership to address challenging and often controversial issues. Public issues deliberation often creates strife among community residents with different groups struggling to come to consensus on how to tackle local problems. Cooperative Extension professionals pride themselves on their “toolbox” of methods for helping communities overcome such challenges. The method of Liberating Structures is one method for hosting inclusive meetings that generate ideas from everyone rather than the vocal minority. In Arkansas, Extension specialists led local residents of impaired watersheds to set priorities for addressing nonpoint source pollution management. This is often a difficult task to achieve between a broad base of stakeholders that includes agricultural producers, land owners, conservationist and agency personnel. Arkansas Extension specialists used this method to get residents of local watersheds to see how they share common interests rather than opposing perspectives on local issues with water quality.

This webinar will provide attendees with an overview of the liberating structures methods used in the Arkansas Nonpoint Source Pollution Management water quality stakeholder forums, highlights from the water quality forums, recommendations for using liberating structures in other public issue engagement forums.

Learn More    |   November 4, 2015

New Director of the NCRCRD

jakesOn behalf of Dr. Ray Hammerschmidt, Director, Michigan State University Extension we are delighted to announce that Dr. Mark Skidmore has been named director of the North Central Region Center for Rural Development (NCRCRD). He will take over the duties from Dr. Scott Loveridge effective January 1, 2016. We look forward to him continuing the NCRCRD’s work with Extension professionals, researchers and their partners to enhance rural development outcomes in the 12-state north central region (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin).

Learn More    |   October 21, 2015


Presenter:  Scott Chazdon, Ph.D., Evaluation and Research Specialist, Extension Center for Community Vitality, University of Minnesota

Description: How do we articulate our impact? Quantitative evaluation data informs, but does not necessarily inspire.  A good story evokes strong feelings, and often endures in memory. This webinar highlights a qualitative evaluation method that combines a public value framework with storytelling.

The presentation will review key lessons learned from the Most Significant Change project, implemented in the Fall 2014 in University of Minnesota Extension's Central region. This project collected, reviewed and selected the stories from across Extension that demonstrated the most public value -- the direct and indirect, deep impact Extension programs have on individuals, families, groups, communities and ultimately the common good.

At this session, you will hear about the process used to collect impact stories, see examples of stories, and learn about the "public value impact story rubric," a tool for writing and evaluating the public value components of an impact narrative.

Learn More    |  Link To Webinar  |   October 8, 2015

A New Season of the Friday Chat at Power of Business Begins

November 6, 2015 11:15am CT/ 12:15 ET on Cybersecurity

Join us at 11: 15 CT every first Friday of the month.
Upcoming events are December and January on Marketing.

Register here for Novembers Live Chat

For more information on upcoming Friday Webinars please register http://powerofbusiness.net to get on the mailing list for notifications, newsletter or both.

Learn More    |    October 5, 2015

Community Resource Development Webinar Series - Youth Engagement Leadership Program (YELP)

October 16th, 2015
10:00am Central/ 11:00am Eastern

The Youth Engagement Leadership Program (YELP) is a Kentucky youth leadership program that builds partnerships with local Cooperative Extension agents, the local school district, elected officials and the business community.  The program began in 2013 as a pilot project with Appalachian Regional Commission and has now expanded to 5 counties as of August 2015 with 5 additional counties scheduled to being in the fall of 2016. 

Link to Webinar

Learn More About Yelp    |    September 22, 2015

“Why Local Food Matters: Views from the National Landscape” webinar draws national audience

Debra Tropp, USDA Ag Marketing Services, presented a wealth of information on the subject of local foods.  Among the topics explored were:  (1) What do we mean by local foods, (2) Relationship of local foods to U.S. food system, (3) What does the future of local food look like, and (4) How do Ag Marketing Services programs facilitate market access for local foods.  If you missed this phenomenal webinar, you can still access this rich information through the recorded webinar or you can access the PowerPoint to explore at your own pace.

Learn More    |    September 10, 2015

Rural Housing and Economic Development Call for Proposals

NARDeP (National Agriculture and Rural Development Policy Center) seeks proposals for a book chapter and policy brief describing research and/or outreach programs that address problems associated with housing and economic development in rural areas of the United States. Inadequate housing in many rural areas tends to impair opportunities for healthy living and suppresses economic development. We have special interest on work from the disciplines of economics, family and consumer science, planning, sociology or related fields.

Learn More    |    September 2, 2015

Funding Available for Programs in Nutrition Assistance Programs

SRDC partners with The University of Kentucky for projects that creatively increase coordination among USDA nutrition assistance programs. The Rural Child Poverty Nutrition Center at The University of Kentucky will announce available funding on July 24, 2015,The project is aimed at providing nutrition assistance to families who live in 324 persistently poor counties across 15 states. Organizations in those eligible counties may apply for $50,000 total to implement their project, and up to 25 grantees will be selected. 

Learn More    |    July 22, 2015

Latinos in the New South: Inclusive Research & Extension Programming DATE CHANGE


Hotel : The Florida Hotel
1500 Sand Lake Road
Orlando, FL  32809

August 27 : Meeting Noon – 5:00 (lunch provided)
August 28 : Meeting 8:00 – 1:00

Shuttle : The hotel is located 6 miles from the Orlando International Airport.  Transportation from the airport to the hotel is provided by Mears Transportation.  $30 round trip for shuttle service, or $27 one-way for taxi.  Call Mears Transportation Group at 407-423-5566 to book your pick up or visit online at http://www.mearstransportation.com/global/orlando/.

Learn More    |    June 24, 2015

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