Around The South
April 2010 Vol. 6, No. 4
In This Issue

SRDC Items of Interest

Registration Now Open for 2010 Joint Meeting of SR-PLN, AEA & ASRED

Online registration is now open for the 2010 SR-PLN, AEA & ASRED Joint Meeting to be held in Memphis, Tennessee on August 23-27, 2010. This year’s theme, Affecting a Changing Economy, will address funding options, programming and staffing priorities, and partnership opportunities. A tentative agenda along with hotel information is available at the 2010 conference information page. Now through July 15, 2010, Early Bird pricing applies a savings of $25 to your conference registration fee. Register today for the conference and your room. For more information about the Joint Meeting, please visit http://srpln.msstate.edu/.

SRDC Director Beaulieu featured in new book on community asset building

Bo Beaulieu, SRDC Director and professor in the Department of Agriculture Economics at Mississippi State University, has co-written a chapter in the recently released Mobilizing Communities: Asset Building as a Community Development Strategy. The chapter titled, “Implementing Community Development in the Mississippi Delta,” extends the research on the relationship between professional implementing organizations and resident participation by conducting an in-depth examination of community development initiatives spearheaded by two different types of organizations in one of the nation’s most impoverished regions, the Mississippi Delta. The SRDC monitoring of these organizations and their approaches allowed Beaulieu and Mark H. Harvey, a former SRDC post doctoral associate and assistant research professor, to address a number of questions of interest to community development scholars and practitioners: (1) What barriers within high-poverty communities block or limit the success of resident-driven initiatives? (2) What are the strengths and weaknesses of different types of professional organizations in terms of overcoming these barriers? (3) How do organizational strengths and weaknesses interact with community conditions to facilitate or inhibit progress? (4) To what extent does the ethic of citizen control facilitate or detract from the attainment of meaningful change? The book is published by Temple University Press. For more information, check the following site: http://www.temple.edu/tempress/titles/2057_reg.html.

Southern Region Convening to strengthen partnerships through network collaboration

Take part in a new effort to build cross-state networks on key rural development issues in the South. The Southern Region Convening will help establish stronger partnerships with key participants at cross state and regional level and to encourage communities and organizations to work together at the regional level at their meeting on May 11-12 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Among the topics to be discussed are:

  • Economic Development: Business and Job Creation
  • Broadband: Global Opportunities and Rural Lifestyles
  • Energy: Advancing Efficiency, Generation and Fuel Development
  • Networks: Strengthening Regional Partnerships

Speakers invited or confirmed include: USDA RD Deputy Undersecretary Cheryl Cook; Ted Abernathy, Southern Growth Policies Board; Matt Chase, National Association of Development Organizations, Peter Stenberg, Economic Research Service; Ron Painter, National Association of Workforce Boards; Brent Bailey, MS Biomass and Renewable Energy Council, and many others. The Southern Rural Development Center is serving as a key partner on this exciting initiative which is being sponsored by USDA RD, Southern Region State RD Councils, and Partners for Rural America. The presence of land-grant Extension and research colleagues with a community/economic development focus will be invaluable to this newly forming regional partnership in the South. The registration fee is $150. For more information, visit http://www.cfrv.org/2010SouthernRegion.htm or contact Vicki Vaughn at the SRDC.

Counties with higher than average votes for McCain in 2008 are slower to send in Census

SRDC researcher Roberto Gallardo has an article featured at the Daily Yonder that looks at who is and is not responding to the census thus far. According to the U.S. Bureau, the average national response rate was close to 60 percent as of April 5th, 2010. Gallardo’s first question is whether rural areas are responding at different rates than urban counties. They are both metro counties and small city counties had response rates above the national average. Rural counties were below. Both metro and micro counties in the country are above the national average while noncore counties fall below the national average. What about other factors? For example, are counties that voted for Republican John McCain in 2008 responding differently than counties that voted for Barack Obama? Well, they are. Read the full article and see the charts at http://www.dailyyonder.com/whats-difference-census-response-rates/2010/04/07/2680.

Southern region included in new SET program

An exciting new initiative is being launched by USDA Rural Development in partnership with the nation’s Regional Rural Development Centers (RRDCs). The purpose of Stronger Economies Together (SET) is to encourage communities and counties in rural America to work collaboratively on a multi-county regional basis in strengthening their regional economies. Pilot efforts will be located in 16 multi-county regions in eight target states: Arizona, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Economic analysis tailored for each of the 16 regions will delineate the region’s comparative economic advantages and its current and emerging economic clusters, and Technical assistance will be provided to the 16 regions over several months following the training. For more information, contact Bo Beaulieu or Rachel Welborn at the SRDC.

SRDC welcomes new Web manager and designer

The SRDC is glad to welcome Andy Lewis as the newest member of its staff. Lewis joined the SRDC in April 2009 as a student worker. He completed his B.A. in graphic design in December 2009. Lewis will be managing the numerous SRDC and related Web sites, exploring social networking, developing online and print curricula, and assisting in the development of publications and promotional materials. He has most recently revised and updated the National e-Commerce Extension Initiative site and is currently revising the SRDC main page. For his creativity and talent, the SRDC welcomes Lewis as a full time staff member.

Other Items of Interest

A Town Revitalized: Can a rust-belt town on the brink of collapse reinvent itself?

The national economic disaster hit the city of Braddock Pennsylvania like a wrecking ball. But Braddock Mayor John Fetterman—dubbed "America's Coolest Mayor" by The New York Times—is taking very unconventional approaches to reinventing the town and re-inspiring its residents. Home to the nation's first A&P supermarket and Andrew Carnegie's first steel mill, Braddock is being revitalized with new youth and art programs, renovations of abandoned real estate, and bold plans to attract artists and green industries. This week, NOW sits down with Mayor Fetterman to learn how the 6'8" 370-pound political novice is trying to turn his town around, and if other devastated communities can and should follow his large footsteps. Watch the full program at http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/615/index.html.

Facing budget cuts states eye school consolidations

As states become determined to keep more school money inside the classroom, rather than in an administrative office, they are beginning to turn to the thorny issue of consolidation as a way to save on administrative costs. Maine is only one example. Vermont is considering a range of proposals that would dramatically reduce its number of school districts, and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour has asked a blue-ribbon commission to come up with a plan for reducing the state’s number of school districts by a third. "If you picture a state with 82 counties and 152 school districts you start to see part of the problem," says Dan Turner, a spokesman for Barbour. "This is both an educational opportunity and an economic necessity." The governor’s office claims that the change will save $65 million, but acknowledges that as a "guesstimate". Consolidation of anything related to schools is notoriously difficult, and doesn’t always turn out to provide the fiscal windfall states hope for. Read the full article at http://www.stateline.org/live/details/story?contentId=470554.

New report discusses prevalence, severity, and characteristics of food insecurity

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) domestic food and nutrition programs affect the lives of millions of Americans each day. About 1 in 4 Americans participates in 1 or more of 15 USDA food and nutrition assistance programs at some point during the year. Accounting for over two-thirds of USDA’s annual budget, these programs represent a significant Federal investment. The Economic Research Service (ERS) conducts studies and evaluations of these programs. This report uses preliminary data from USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), the agency responsible for managing the programs, to examine trends in food and nutrition assistance programs through fiscal 2009 (October 1, 2008, to September 30, 2009). It also discusses a recent ERS report that examines the prevalence, severity, and characteristics of food insecurity in households with children. Access the Food Assistance Landscape report at http://www.ers.usda.gov/Publications/EIB6-7/.

Funding Opportunities

SRDC's Grant Connections: Rural Development Funding Opportunities


The SRDC staff compiles Grant Connections primarily for the faculty of land-grant colleges and universities in the South to provide funding information in support of activities in agricultural economics, education, human sciences, rural sociology, youth development and other related disciplines

Conferences and Trainings

Southern Regional Convening: Strengthening Partnerships Through Network Collaboration

May 11 - 12, 2010
Charlotte, North Carolina

5th Annual Best Practices in Building University / City Relations Conference

June 1-3, 2010
Ames, Iowa

Community Development Society / International Association for Community Development Joint Annual International Conference

July 24-28, 2010
New Orleans, Louisiana

Agricultural & Applied Economics Association Annual Meeting

July 25-27, 2010
Denver, Colorado

73rd Annual RSS Meeting

August 12-15, 2010
Atlanta, Georgia

Southern Economic Development Council

2010 Annual Conference
August 14-17, 2010
New Orleans, Louisiana

2010 Joint Meeting of SR-PLN, AEA & ASRED

August 23-27, 2010
Memphis, Tennessee

Job Opportunities

Research Agricultural Economist, Economic Research Service/USDA

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Research Social Science Analyst, Economic Research Service/USDA

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Submit Announcements

Job announcements and other items of interest may be sent to Alicia Barnes for possible inclusion in future issues.

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