Around The South
September 2010 Vol. 6, No. 9
In This Issue

SRDC Items of Interest

Community Data Center provides access to local data for southern counties

In many rural communities, gaining access to relevant demographic, education, social, and economic data is not easy to come by or is, at a minimum, difficult to locate in one centralized site. Recognizing the importance of these data to help communities make decisions, recruit employers, and advance their overall quality of life, the Southern Rural Development Center has updated its Community Data Center, a resource that collects, manages, and presents relevant data in printer friendly, two-page profiles. Profile creator Roberto Gallardo, a research associate at the SRDC, said, "The county profiles are available to any interested individual and will help them get an idea of what is going on in each county. They provide information that not all counties have the knowledge or manpower to obtain. Having these data ultimately provide information for better decision making because business prospects do have access and know these things before even talking to a community." See what's been updated and access the data at http://srdc.msstate.edu/news/091010_dataprofile.html.

Latest RIDGE brief tackles which reasons may influence food stamp use

Several factors contribute to poverty, including place. Some areas, for example, have higher unemployment rates, while others have high concentrations of people with less education or highly segregated minority populations, all of which are known to raise the risk for poverty. This latest RIDGE brief, based on research conducted by Tim Slack and Candice Myers, Louisiana State University, examine the set of factors that impact food stamp use in the South. This includes an exploration of the reasons for food stamp use in historically high-poverty areas. Access this report and others in the Food Assistance and Nutrition Information Series at http://srdc.msstate.edu/ridge/foodassistance.html.

New Data Focus section transforms Fact of the Month into visual, detailed resource

Over the past year, Fact of the Month has been evolving, providing more data relevant to people and communities in rural America. From household income to obesity to population change, this resource has provided a SRDC region specific look at many these topics, often comparing the South with other regions and the U.S. overall. Now, with a new name and goal, the Data Focus section will release more detailed products in more visual and engaging manner. As part of its inaugural release, the Center's Data Focus takes a look at population and age with the infographic "How many, how old." See how many people there are in the world, the United States, and the SRDC region. Then learn age-related details such as which age groups are shrinking and which ones are growing across the SRDC region. Also, read our data sources and download an Excel table of the SRDC specific data for your own research and presentations. Use the related resources to learn more about the topic. Explore the current Data Focus at http://srdc.msstate.edu/data/focus/.

SRDC & Southern SARE announce Sustainable Community Innovation Grants RFPs due October 1

Proposals are invited for the 2010 Southern Region Sustainable Community Innovations Grant (SCIG) program designed to fund projects that link sustainable agriculture to rural community development. Grants have a funding maximum of $10,000 for up to two years of project activities. Proposals will be accepted until October 1, 2010 with awards announced mid-to-late December. The SRDC and the Southern SARE Program are co-sponsoring this important initiative. The intent is to invest in projects/programs that promote a stronger alignment between sustainable agriculture and community development strategies in the South. This type of alignment cannot be realized without strong and balanced working partnerships among people and organizations representing both sustainable agriculture and community development perspectives. As such, applicants MUST demonstrate that their project team has a good mix of backgrounds and experiences relevant to these two key arenas (i.e., sustainable agriculture and community development). For more information about this year's priority areas and application procedures, visit http://www.southernsare.uga.edu/callpage.htm.

Early bird registration for PAWC ends October 1

The Professional Agricultural Workers Conference will be held December 5-7, 2010 at Tuskegee University. The PAWC serves as a forum where participants review and discuss relevant topics on improving the quality of rural life for people in the South and the nation in general. This year's theme is "Empowering Underserved Farmers and Rural Communities by Changing Legislation, USDA Eligibility Requirements, and Program Delivery." Early bird registration by October 1 secures a rate of $295. On-site registration will be $425. A limited number of scholarships are available for small farmers, businesses and community based organizations. The PAWC is hosted by Tuskegee University and supported by the Farm Foundation, USDA agencies (ERS, NRCS, NIFA, FSA, FS, FAS, APHIS), USDI/NPS, USAID, the Southern Rural Development Center, USDI, COSBAE/AAEA, 1890 Land-grant Institutions and Tuskegee University. For more information, visit http://www.pawc.info.

Spots still available for community development training in October

Want to know more about the principles of doing good community development work? If so, take a close look at the "Foundations of Practice in Community Development." The distance education program will provide Extension educators and other rural development partners with the knowledge, skills and tools they need to work more successfully in communities. The initial training program – designated as Level I CD Training – will consist of a series of seven, one and one‐half hour sessions featuring topics such as demographics, understanding the local leadership structure, the community's economy, and approaches to community development. A nationally recognized team of faculty drawn from universities will serve as instructors. All sessions will be held from 2-3:30 p.m. Eastern Time. The first session is scheduled to begin on Friday, October 8, 2010. For more information and to register, visit http://srdc.msstate.edu/fop/.

Poverty project sees early successes, plans expansion

In its first year of supporting residents' plans to address poverty, Turning the Tide on Poverty launched 30 study circles with more than 250 participants across five southern states. Tide works to find solutions to local poverty through community study circles, gatherings where people create action plans for local change. Projects have ranged from farmers' markets to bringing education leaders to parents. Read about last year's projects and learn at the process at http://srdc.msstate.edu/news/083010_tide.html

Now, as a result of additional funding, the SRDC is looking to expand Turning the Tide on Poverty to up to five other states in the South over the next year. If you are a land-grant institution in the South and want to explore the idea of launching this program in your state, check out our call for proposals at: http://srdc.msstate.edu/newsletters/ats/files/06_09-tideapp.doc

2010 food assistance and nutrition research grant recipients announced

The RIDGE Center for Targeted Studies @ the SRDC is pleased to announce the 2010 recipients of its new competitive grants program in partnership with the Economic Research Service, USDA. The RIDGE (Research Innovation and Development Grants in Economics) program is designed to invest in timely social science-based research that can advance understanding of the myriad of food assistance and nutrition challenges impacting rural people and places in rural America. The list below details the awarded projects and researchers:

  • Food Stamp Program and Food Insecurity Dynamics in the Rural South
    Principal Investigator: Bradford F. Mills, Virginia Tech University
    Collaborator: Elton Mykerezi, University of Minnesota
  • Direct and Comprehensive Measure of Child Food Security: Reliability, Accuracy, and Concordance with Parental Report
    Principal Investigator: Maryah Stella Frain, University of South Carolina
    Collaborator: Edward A. Frongillo, Jr., University of South Carolina
  • The Influence of Community Retail Food Environment on Household Food Access, Food Choice, and Dietary Intake of Mexican American Children of Colonias along the South Texas Border with Mexico
    Principal Investigator: Joseph R. Sharkey, Texas A&M Health Science Center.
    Collaborator: Wesley R. Dean, Texas A&M Health Science Center.
  • Does Prenatal WIC Affect Birth Outcomes and School Performance? Examining the Consequences of a Dip in WIC Participation
    Principal Investigators: Sarah Hamersma, University of Florida and David Figlio, Northwestern University.

For more information about RIDGE, visit http://srdc.msstate.edu/ridge/.

Other Items of Interest

Webinar series addresses financing opportunities for rural communities

The Federal Reserve Banks of Atlanta, Cleveland and Richmond, in partnership with the Appalachia Regional Commission, invite you to participate in a series of webinars about Financing Opportunities in Rural Communities. Looking for new ways to invest and make a difference in your local community? Through a series of interactive webinars, community and regional banks will have the opportunity to learn about credit enhancements that encourage investment in their own small towns and rural areas. Each webinar will feature case studies from community bankers and other strategic partners on how they have financed Central Appalachian community facilities, infrastructure, housing and historic development projects.

Communities to get first shot at foreclosed homes

Major mortgage lenders will now give state and local governments the right to buy foreclosed properties before they go on the market, giving them "a leg up" on speculators who have often thwarted local redevelopment efforts, Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan recently announced. The First Look program will give communities a 48-hour heads up on foreclosed properties and the ability to buy them at a 1 percent discount, Donovan said. The effort is intended to help improve the $7 billion Neighborhood Stabilization Program, he said."First Look is good for our housing market because it will bring much-needed speed" to the sale of bank-owned homes, Donovan said. Data show that vacant homes are more than three times more destructive to neighboring home values than those early in the foreclosure process. Read the full article at http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/housing/2010-09-02-neighborhood02_ST_N.htm.

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

SERA-37 Lunch Time Webinars

Enter your email address and first and last name to enter the noon (12:00 EST) public meetings.

Cultural Awareness Begins by Looking Inward: A Webinar about Understanding our Personal Perspectives, Biases, & Assumptions
September 28, 2010

The Demography of Childhood Immigration and Latino Adolescent Health
October 7, 2010

Foundations of Practice in Community Development

Level 1 - Understanding Communities and Their Dynamics
October 8, 2010 - November 19, 2010

Appalachia's Educational Assets: Investing in a Skilled Future

October 25-27, 2010
Rome, Georgia

Professional Agricultural Workers Conference

Empowering Underserved Farmers and Rural Communities by Changing Legislation, USDA Eligibility Requirements, and Program Delivery
December 5-7, 2010
Tuskegee, Alabama

10th Annual New Partners for Smart Growth

Building Safe, Healthy and Livable Communities
February 3-5, 2011
Charlotte, North Carolina

Job Opportunities

Assistant Professor, Family and Consumer Economics for Older Adults, University of Florida

View announcement (Search for Position # 00013102):

Assistant Professor, Housing and Community Development Specialist, University of Florida

View announcement (Search for Position # 00013151):

Assistant Professor, Family and Youth Development, University of Florida

View announcement (Search for Position # 00014565):

Director of the Center for the Advancement of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, West Virginia State University

View announcement:

Extension Specialist, Community and Economic Development, West Virginia State University

View announcement:

Research Agricultural Economist, Economic Research Service/USDA

View announcement:

Research Economist, Economic Research Service/USDA

View announcement:

Research Social Science Analyst, Economic Research Service/USDA

View announcement:

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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