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Barefield departs SRDC after seven and half years of service
After a successful tenure as Associate Director of the SRDC, Alan Barefield has decided to devote 100 percent of his time to his Extension specialist work at Mississippi State University. In recent years, Alan has been able to capture increasing amounts of resources to support his Extension work in Mississippi and these successes have made it more difficult for him to maintain an active role with the SRDC. As such, Alan is now serving in a full-time role as Extension Professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Mississippi State. Bo Beaulieu, SRDC Director, noted that during his time at the SRDC, Alan operated as a key force in advancing the Center's work on the Rural Community College Initiative, the Business Retention and Expansion effort, the Cashing in on Business Opportunities program, the regional rural health effort, the Women in Agriculture project, and many other Center-sponsored and supported activities. He and the center staff are appreciative of the important leadership that Barefield provided to the Center over the past 7 ½ years. For those who wish to contact Alan, he will continue to be housed at the SRDC until later this fall. So, feel free to contact him at the SRDC office or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SR-PLN early bird registration boasts nearly 200
Nearly 200 Extension leaders throughout the South have signed up to attend this year's Southern Region Program Leaders Network Conference. The Memphis meeting will feature an urban task force roundtable on how the changing economy affects urban Extension while the general meeting will address the challenges of lost funding, staffing priorities, funding options, programming priorities, and partnership opportunities. Though early bird registration has ended, regular registration will continue for the next month, ending in mid August. PLN will be on August 23-27, 2010 with the theme, Affecting a Changing Economy. A tentative agenda along with hotel information is available at the 2010 conference information page. For more information visit http://srpln.msstate.edu/.
Extension teams gathered to discuss Turning the Tide progress
Research and Extension teams met in Jackson, Mississippi for a two-day summit to share highlights, challenges, and early impacts from the Turning the Tide on Poverty project launched by the SRDC nearly a year ago. During the July 14-15, 2010 meeting, teams representing Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Oklahoma showcased initial research research findings and shared highlights of their local civic engagement activities. With support from the Farm Foundation, the Kettering Foundation, and Everyday Democracy, this initial project has succeeded in launching 30 study circles with more than 250 participants working to develop and implement local solutions to key poverty and related issues. The initial successes from these sessions supported by nearly 100 trained volunteers have sparked growing interest in the Tide training manual and study circle process as a vehicle for addressing such topics as failing schools, violence in communities, and other factors associated with poverty. More detailed news and reports associated with this exciting pilot effort will be showcased in the coming months. To learn more about the Turning the Tide on Poverty initiative, visit http://srdc.msstate.edu/tide.
SRDC Editor / Publications Coordinator involved in Extension response to oil spill
As part of the Mississippi State University Extension Service's response to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Alicia Barnes, Editor and Publications Coordination for the SRDC, has joined a team of volunteer Extension employees who have trained in hazardous materials, incident command systems, and oil spill response to assist as needed on the coastal areas of Mississippi. Starting July 10, Extension volunteers have begun relocating sea turtles and Barnes is scheduled to join the efforts July 21, thank her for her service to the state and Extension.
Where Americans are moving
More than 10 million Americans moved from one county to another during 2008. A map at Forbes.com visualizes those moves. Users can click on any county to see comings and goings: black lines indicate net inward movement, red lines net outward movement. Major cities such as Manhattan, Dallas, Chicago, Miami, and Atlanta are also featured for their inward and outward movement. Access the map at http://www.forbes.com/2010/06/04/migration-moving-wealthy-interactive-counties-map.html.
Rural Entrepreneurs on the rise with help from non-profits and the Internet
Five years ago, Katrina Frey wanted to make a little extra money, so she started cooking up homemade gourmet jellies and syrups. Then she sold them out of the back of her van at a farmer's market in western Nebraska. She made $5,000 in her first year of business. Today, after taking her venture online and moving to a building on Main Street in the small town of Stapleton, the mother of three whose husband is a farmer now grosses $50,000 a year. And she's not the only one creating a thriving business in a bleak economy. From 2008 to 2009, the number of self-employed Americans increased by 200,000 to 8.9 million, according to Challenger Gray & Christmas, a Chicago outplacement firm. See how Frey and others are branching out at http://abcnews.go.com/Business/rural-entrepreneurs-rise/story?id=10945125&page=1.
Closure of rural grocery stores can spell trouble for rural communities
Craig Chancellor tried everything he could, but last November he finally closed the Turkey General Store, leaving the small Texas Panhandle town without a grocery. Although Chancellor tried to trim overhead and relocated a small cafe he owned into the store, he couldn't make it work. He paid more for salaries and utilities than he made in sales, and finally, lost more than he could afford. "It didn't play the way we wanted it to," the 48-year-old Chancellor said. "People understand why we had to do it, but they hate it." Researchers said Chancellor's story is being repeated across the country as rural stores struggle to survive amid competition from distant supercenters and relatively high operating costs. The grocery industry and government don't keep statistics on rural store closures, but experts said a long-running trend seems to be picking up speed. A survey by Kansas State University backed up that belief, finding that more than 38 percent of the 213 groceries in Kansas towns of less than 2,500 closed between 2006 and 2009. It isn't just a store that goes when groceries close, said David Proctor, who studies rural communities at Kansas State. Such closures rob towns of their vitality, with the loss of gathering places and sales tax revenue to fund local governments. Learn how grocery store closings can be the canary in the mine at http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jHCOz-_63wzJPP4pNAtKX8kDEyIgD9GI5FP80.
Outsourcing comes to rural America
Looking for skilled, low-cost labor? Forget about India and China. How about Jonesboro, Ark.? As the national unemployment rate hovers near 10%, some companies are starting to eye job-hungry areas of the country as prime candidates for the kind of outsourced work that once would have gone overseas. Compared with the estimated $60-billion-a-year offshoring industry, rural outsourcing remains just a blip on the radar. Yet the strategy is becoming a more popular option for businesses that are trying to stretch their budgets. Outsourcing to locals instead of offshore has potential to be a great opportunity for rural communities to consider as a form of economic development. Not only will it provide local residents with jobs, it will also help each economy. Dubbed "ruralsourcing," "rural outsourcing" and "onshoring," the practice relies on two simple premises: Smaller towns need jobs, and they offer a cheaper cost of living than urban centers. So businesses that outsource work to these areas can expect to pay less – rates are often as much as 25% to 50% lower – than if they were hiring urbanites with comparable skills. See how onshoring is helping Arkansas compete with India and China at http://money.cnn.com/2010/07/08/smallbusiness/rural_onshoring/index.htm.
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.
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
73rd Annual RSS Meeting
August 12-15, 2010
Southern Economic Development Council / Business Retention and Expansion International Joint Meeting
2010 Annual Conference
August 14-17, 2010
New Orleans, Louisiana
2010 Joint Meeting of SR-PLN, AEA & ASRED
August 23-27, 2010
Director, Mississippi State University Extension Service
Research Agricultural Economist, Economic Research Service/USDA
Research Social Science Analyst, Economic Research Service/USDA
Job announcements and other items of interest may be sent to Alicia Barnes for possible inclusion in future issues.
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