Around The South
October 2010 Vol. 6, No. 10
In This Issue

SRDC Items of Interest

Myles joins SRDC as Interim Associate Director

The SRDC is happy to announce that Dr. Al Myles, Economist and Extension Professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Mississippi State University, has joined the SRDC staff as the interim Associate Director. Myles has served 26 years as an Extension Community Development Specialist, providing educational programs and technical help to residents, organizations, governments, and small businesses within the state and region. He specializes in the areas of feasibility and impact analysis, business development, retail development, tourism development, and facilities and services. As part of his SRDC duties, he is working on a Walton Foundation project looking at the economic impact of a charter school in Arkansas and on a wage and benefits survey in the Mississippi Delta with SRDC research associate Roberto Gallardo. Myles received his B.S. in Agricultural Economics from Alcorn State University, M.A. in Food and Resource Economics from the University of Florida, and Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from Mississippi State University.

e-Commerce Mini-Grant Applications Move to Quarterly Review Process

After the success of the latest round of mini-grants, the National e-Commerce Extension Initiative is expanding its mini-grant program to offer four application rounds. The new quarterly funding aims to expand the adoption of e-commerce strategies by communities, small/micro businesses, and entrepreneurs across the country. Land-Grant University (LGU) Extension educators or teams (involving both Extension and non-Extension partners) are invited to submit proposals outlining how they propose to implement one of the e-commerce educational curricula that the National e-Commerce Extension Initiative has released. The maximum amount allowed for any proposal is $3,000.

New submission deadlines
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Learn more and view the request for proposals at http://srdc.msstate.edu/ecommerce/grants/minigrants.html.

SRDC's RIDGE Center for Targeted Studies releases new brief on food assistance programs and childhood obesity

Amid growing concern over childhood obesity, policymakers have begun to wonder what role federal food programs can play in combating obesity in children. Approximately one-third of U.S. children are overweight and 16 percent are obese. Low-income children are at particular risk, as income has long been associated with obesity. In the new RIDGE Food Assistance and Nutrition Information Series brief "The High Price of Food Exacts a High Price on Low-Income Children's Weight," researchers Elizabeth Rigby, The George Washington University, and Rachel Tolbert Kimbro, Rice University, discuss the impact of cost of living on childhood obesity. They find in cities where food is more expensive, federal food assistance programs, in particular the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, may be contributing to early childhood obesity, while in low-cost cities, they may be deterring it. The report, which is part of the RIDGE Center for Targeted Studies @ the SRDC, can be accessed at http://srdc.msstate.edu/ridge/foodassistance.html.

Latest e-Commerce module offers video series on computer and internet security

Understanding why security is needed is the first step to better securing a business and its data. For a small business, a breach in data security can result in serious financial consequences. Being aware of the potential security risks helps minimize risks and leads to take proactive steps to solve the potential problems. As a part of the SRDC's National e-Commerce Extension Initiative, the new module Security Squad: Keeping your Equipment and Information Safe helps the small business owner formulate a plan of action to address security concerns. The videos and supplemental workbook activities address areas that affect the security of a business including its customers' information. Experience the new video series at http://srdc.msstate.edu/ecommerce/curricula/security_concerns/.

Professional Agricultural Workers Conference offers discounted advanced registration through November 15

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." Advanced registration by November 15 secures a rate of $350. 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.

10th Annual Smart Growth conference releases agenda and online registration

Today, more than ever, we are faced with environmental and economic challenges that will define our generation, shape our future, and test our resilience as cities, regions, states and a nation. Join leaders from across the U.S. tackling these challenges head-on and demonstrate smart growth solutions that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil, create a green economy, assure a healthy population, and expand transportation and housing options for all Americans. Charlotte, North Carolina is an ideal setting for the 2011 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference set for February 3-5, 2011. The registration deadline is January 14, 2011. Registrations received after that date will be subject to a $50 late fee, and all walk-in registrations will be subject to an additional $35 walk-in fee. Your payment, in full, must accompany your registration form. The SRDC is proud to partner with this annual event. Learn more at http://www.newpartners.org/.

Other Items of Interest

New EPA report shares strategies for population retention and economic growth

Many rural communities and small towns are facing challenges, including rapid growth at metropolitan edges, declining rural populations, and loss of working lands. This report, the result of collaboration between EPA and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), focuses on smart growth strategies that can help guide growth in rural areas while protecting natural and working lands and preserving the rural character of existing communities.

The report focuses on three central goals:

  1. Support the rural landscape by creating an economic climate that enhances the viability of working lands and conserves natural lands;
  2. Help existing places to thrive by taking care of assets and investments such as downtowns, Main Streets, existing infrastructure, and places that the community values; and
  3. Create great new places by building vibrant, enduring neighborhoods and communities that people, especially young people, don't want to leave.

Featuring case studies from across the country, the report highlights how local governments, states, and non-profits have successfully implemented smart growth strategies to support rural lands, revitalize existing communities, and create great new places for residents and visitors. The report provides a set of tools that leaders from rural communities and small towns can use to help attract and direct future growth while ensuring that it meet their economic, environmental, and public health goals. Access the report at http://www.epa.gov/dced/sg_rural.htm.

Brookings releases an update on "Simulating the Effect of the 'Great Recession' on Poverty"

According to new data recently released by the Census Bureau, 14.3 percent of Americans were living in poverty in 2009. In September of 2009, the Brookings Institute performed an analysis in which they simulated what would happen to the poverty rate over the next several years based on projections of the unemployment rate and the estimated relationship between the poverty rate and the unemployment rate. The bottom line of this analysis is that the recession is likely to have a dramatic impact on poverty over the next several years. The simulations suggest that the overall poverty rate will increase from 12.5 percent in 2007 to nearly 16 percent by 2014 and that the child poverty rate will increase from 18 percent in 2007 to nearly 26 percent in 2014, adding about 10 million people total and 6 million children to the ranks of the poor by the middle of the current decade. Despite the fact that the simulation accurately predicted the poverty rate for 2009, the Institute emphasizes that there is a strong possibility that the estimates they present here are conservative, given that they do not know how dramatic of an effect the current recession will have on structural unemployment in the future. In light of these increase, The Brookings Institute believe that programs such as Food Stamps and TANF that can help to buffer the effects of the recession on lower-income families should be maintained or increased in these difficult economic times. See the results of the analysis at http://www.brookings.edu/papers/2010/0916_poverty_monea_sawhill.aspx.

Transportation report investigates livability of 12 small towns

Case Studies on Transit and Livable Communities in Rural and Small Town America is a collection of 12 studies to help put to rest the idea that livability is an exclusively "urban" idea. Small cities, towns and rural regions across the country are transforming themselves into more livable communities. While some of these communities face formidable threats – from job losses and shrinking populations to disappearing farmland and strained resources – their leaders have forged collaborations and created plans that are growing economies, benefiting people and protecting the land and lifestyles treasured by residents and non-residents alike. The exact definition of "livability" may differ place to place, but these case studies reveal some core values and needs that exist in these communities across America. It is about providing people, including seniors and those who cannot afford to drive everywhere, better choices about how to travel throughout their regions. It is about encouraging growth in historic small town Main Streets across America and a high quality of life with ample green space, biking or walking paths, and shopping, restaurants or health care located nearby and easily accessible. View the collection at http://t4america.org/blog/2010/09/13/wrapping-up-the-rural-livability-case-studies-download-them-all/.

Direct to consumer farmer more profitable near urban areas

Farmers who sell directly to consumers represent a small fraction of the farm sector, and their direct sales accounted for 0.4 percent of the sector's total sales in 2007. But their numbers and importance are growing in response to demand for locally grown food. The number of U.S. farms selling directly to consumers through farmers' markets, roadside stands, and pick-your-own operations grew by 104.7 percent between 1997 and 2007, while the value of direct sales increased 47.6 percent. In 2007, $1.2 billion of farm products were sold directly to consumers by 136,800 farms, or 6 percent of all U.S. farms. Direct sales are highest in the urban corridors in the Northeast and on the West Coast. Urban markets seem to be especially targeted by farmers engaged in direct sales. Fully 84 percent of farms that sell directly to consumers are located in metropolitan counties or in adjacent rural counties, and these farms accounted for 89 percent of the direct sales income reported by farm operators in 2007. Read the full article at http://www.ers.usda.gov/AmberWaves/September10/Findings/UrbanAreas.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

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:

Director & Instructor, Bureau of Business Research and Economic Development, Georgia Southern University

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Extension Associate, Beginning Farmer & Rancher Development Program, Department of Agricultural Sciences at Texas A&M University-Commerce

View announcement:

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

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Principal Investigator – Sustainable Farms & Families, Kentucky State University

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Research Agricultural Economist, Economic Research Service/USDA

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Research 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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