Around The South
September 2021 Vol. 17, No.5
In This Issue

SRDC Items of Interest

You Are Invited to Participate in National Survey on Rural Community, Economic, and Workforce Development Priorities

The four Regional Rural Development Centers invite rural-focused leadership and professionals working on issues of community, economic, and workforce development to participate in a national survey. The survey is the first phase of a process aimed at identifying key priorities and critical investments for rural communities’ recovery and growth. The process is implemented by the RRDCs with support from the Extension Foundation through the New Technologies for Agricultural Extension accelerator program. The RRDCs ask rural development professionals to (1) complete the survey below and also (2) share the survey with those in their networks engaged in community and economic development activities. We ask that all surveys be completed and submitted no later than October 6. Timely completion will ensure that responses inform a preliminary report that will be shared by the RRDCs with USDA NIFA and other federal partners as stakeholder feedback.

Complete the Survey Here

Southern Region Names Excellence in Extension Award Winners

Dr. Ann Berry’s 32-year Extension career spans appointments with two Land-Grant Universities, Louisiana State University and The University of Tennessee (UT), having county/parish, area/regional and state roles where she developed and evaluated programs for both youth and adults. Dr. Berry is a Professor and Consumer Economics Specialist in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences. Through Dr. Berry’s visionary leadership UT Extension Family & Consumer Science is one of only three agencies approved by the Tennessee Department of Education to provide high school teachers the required 14 hours of training to teach personal finance.

Dr. Michelle Eley has spent nearly 18 years with Cooperative Extension at North Carolina A&T University building programs, training staff on efforts focused on community, organizational development, leadership development, food systems planning, emergency preparedness, and civil dialogue/discourse. Eley was recently recognized for her work by being named the 2021 nominee for the Excellence in Extension Award from the 1890’s Region in the area of Community and Rural Development. Her most recent funded project is Youth Stepping Forward. Funded through the National 4-H Council, the program teaches youth in six underserved counties skills in decision making and problem solving so they can address the issues facing their communities. The youth program is modeled after the successful Community Voices program, an Extension at A&T initiative that trains adults to be community leaders.
To View Full Article, Click Here

Dr. Bob Kemerait is charged with providing Extension outreach to agents and farmers for disease and nematode management of peanut, corn, cotton, and soybeans. These crops are planted on around 2.5 million acres annually, and University of Georgia (UGA) Cooperative Extension agents in well over half of Georgia’s 159 counties must be able to effectively address disease and nematode management issues to help mitigate potential losses affecting grower profitability. Kemerait has worked for more than 21 years to develop a program that supports, trains and mentors UGA Extension agents, graduate, and undergraduate students from UGA and Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, and the diverse staff whom he employs.


Regional Spotlight

Fort Valley State Collaborates with Veteran Organization to Educate New Farmers

A middle Georgia veteran’s organization recently received a federal grant with assistance from Fort Valley State University’s (FVSU) Cooperative Extension Program. Joy Moten-Thomas, FVSU’s assistant administrator for Community Development and Outreach authored a $750,000 grant proposal to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Enhancing Agricultural Opportunities for Military Veterans Grant Program.

The grant proposal will benefit Striving to Achieve Greatness Vets (STAG Vets Inc.) a non-profit founded in 2014 by retired U.S. Army veteran L. Jonathan Jackson. Located in Milledgeville, Georgia, STAG Vets Inc. is a program created to assist veterans who are homeless, in need, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and traumatic brain injury.

Jackson briefly discussed why he sought FVSU’s help in seeking federal funding. “I heard about this grant through Joy Moten-Thomas, and we discussed the possibilities of how it would enable STAG Vets Inc. to reach a greater portion of veterans in the Middle Georgia area,” Jackson said. Furthermore, the army veteran stated it was important to him to have FVSU represented because of its status as a Historically Black College and University (HBCU).

From August 1, 2020, to August 1, 2023, the funds will cover costs including webinars, workshops, agribusiness tours, and courses conducted by Central Georgia Technical College (CGTC), a two-year, regionally accredited institution.

STAG Vets is serving as project lead, and is working with Comfort Farms, Central Georgia Technical College and Fort Valley State University. The goal of this collaboration is to provide and prepare qualified farmers needed in Georgia’s agribusiness supply chain to replace the state’s retiring farmers. “We are excited about the amazing possibilities and the ability to grow farmers from every walk of life,” Jackson said.

To View Full Article, Click Here

Fort Valley State Cooperative Extension Receives Grant to Assist Baldwin County Schools and Farmers Developing Communities, and Providing Opportunities

Fort Valley State University’s Office of Community Development and Outreach, a part of FVSU’s Cooperative Extension Program, recently received a $224,914 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s (NIFA) Food and Agriculture Service-Learning Program Grant. From October 7, 2020 until August 31, 2022, the grant (CFDA 10.522) will fund a first-time collaboration between FVSU’s Cooperative Extension Program and the Baldwin County School District.

This will allow the Baldwin Grows Farm to School Community Action Committee, a collaborative group fostering innovative strategies, to strengthen their existing Farm to School (F2S) programming within the school district. Expansion of the F2S programming provides multiple benefits for students including nutrition, health, social and emotional skills, academic achievement, and school engagement. In addition, this funding can help increase and sustain current F2S efforts through the implementation of the following goals. This includes increasing capacity for food, garden, and nutrition education within the cafeterias and in the classroom. Funds will allow for the purchase of a greenhouse and small garden equipment to educate students about farming practices such as row gardening, hydroponic, and aquaponic gardening. Funds will subsidize the hiring of FoodCorps service members along with supporting professional learning opportunities for teachers and local farmers.

In addition, it will afford the Baldwin Grows Food Agriculture Service-Learning Program (FASLP) to further contribute to the community’s health and sustainability by increasing child access to healthy and nutritious food options and improving farmer profitability by providing them access to stable, local markets. The project’s goals and objectives outlined in this proposal align directly with FASLP project goals.

In addition to being classified as a limited resource area, the district serves households that encounter challenges, such as difficulty in achieving food security, housing stability, financial stability, and other socioeconomic challenges. FVSU Cooperative Extension is one of five awardees in the country to receive this grant. The USDA and NIFA made awards totaling $960,000. For more information about the program, contact Joy Moten-Thomas.

To View Full Article, Click Here

Grant Postings


Interdisciplinary Network on Rural Population Health and Aging Pilot Grant—Invitation

Deadline to apply: December 10, 2021

The National Institute on Aging (NIA)-funded Interdisciplinary Network on Rural Population Health and Aging (INRPHA) invites investigators to submit proposals for pilot research that addresses key thematic priority areas (detailed below) related to U.S. rural population health and aging trends and disparities.

Learn More

Economic Development Administration American Rescue Plan Program

Deadline varies based on program

The American Rescue Plan funding is to assist communities nationwide in their efforts to build back better by accelerating the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and building local economies that will be resilient to future economic shocks. EDA is proud to make this funding available through a series of six innovative challenges.

Learn More

Job Postings

Community Health Post-Doctoral Associate

Open until filled

The position is a two-year appointment located in southwest part of the state in Tifton, Georgia. The faculty will be expected to support, implement, and evaluate community health capacity building initiatives related to vaccine education with partner institution Morehouse School of Medicine.

Learn More

Extension Programming Associate Youth Animal Science

Open until filled

The position will work in coordination with the Extension Youth Animal Science Specialist and Extension Youth Animal Science programming team to lead, organize, implement, manage, market, and evaluate youth (4H & FFA) Animal Science programs, competitions, events, and curriculum on the state level and offer expertise, training, and leadership to VA youth participating in National events.

Learn More

Graphic Designer

Open until filled

An opening at Virginia Cooperative Extension at Virginia State University on the communications team for an hourly graphic designer.

Core responsibilities include:
• Concepting, designing, and producing and/or publishing professional-looking marketing and outreach materials for external audiences using the Adobe Creative Suite of professional design software, including   Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop, and Dreamweaver.

Projects will include but not be limited to:
• Brochures, Print Advertising, Trade Show Displays, & etc.

Learn More


5-Part Training Series: Building Your Virtual Facilitation Skills

Virtual – Wednesdays, October 6, 13, 20 & 27, 2021; Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Hosted by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Maine Sea Grant, New Hampshire Extension, Virginia Cooperative Extension, and the University of Vermont Extension, attendees will learn to engage with virtual group members, mange the group’s virtual process and challenges, handle multiple aspects of virtual technology, and adapt facilitation techniques and tools for virtual environments.

Learn More & Register

Business Retention & Expansion (BRE) Courses

In-person: October 12 - October 13, 2021 (St. Paul, MN)

For inspiration, new skill development, or brushing up existing skills, we encourage individuals or teams to take the course. The course gives you the opportunity to prepare a new or updated BRE plan. It allows you to think through the right approach for your situation including two fundamental approaches to business outreach and follow-up action:

• The community-led, volunteer-intensive approach

• The staff-driven, continuous approach

What's new?
We're all learning how things are changing in the post-pandemic period. This includes BRE methods. Thus, we will discuss both new and traditional ideas and methods. We welcome discussion of new ways of doing the work. One thing hasn't changed; however, retaining and expanding businesses will continue to be the lion's share of local ED work for Minnesota communities.

Learn More & Register

Rural Renewal Symposium

In-person: October 12, 2021

The Rural Renewal Symposium and Prize are designed to raise awareness, attract resources, and stimulate research toward solving grand challenges facing rural communities. This symposium will provide a unique opportunity for faculty, students, and rural community members from across the U.S. and around the world to connect with others and learn about the latest discoveries, trends, and approaches for rural renewal.

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Making it Count: Applying Science to Support Universal Affordable Broadband Adoption

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Conference Topics will Include:
• Investments in Digital Literacy
• Rural Broadband Business Models and Execution
• Federal-State Policy and Funding Interaction
• Data and Models to Support Program Evaluation
• Labor Market Effects and Response
Hosted by Association of Public and Land-grant Universities in partnership with the Southern Rural Development Center. Registration and more information coming soon!

Register Here

2021 National Extension Tourism Network Biennial Conference

In-person: November 7 – 11, 2021 – Savannah, GA

The National Extension Tourism Network’s conference theme this year is “Navigating the Uncharted” which will reflect on how Extension and other tourism professionals have been responding and adapting to the challenges and changes facing the communities we serve. It also will serve to catalyze future Extension programming that best serves our stakeholders’ needs.

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National Extension Energy and National Sustainability Joint Summits

In-person: Spring 2022

The Summit is the best, single venue to learn about the latest in sustainability and energy research, share innovative Extension programs, update your program toolbox, and cultivate new communities of practice.

Learn More & Register




Southern CRD Webinar Series 2020: 

January: The 2020 Census is Upon Us: What Can You Do?

Webinar Recording

March: The Georgia Initiative for Community Housing: Addressing Housing Issues from the Bottom Up

Webinar Recording

April: Rural Resiliency - How to Support Mental Health in Rural Communities

Webinar Recording

National CRD Indicators Team Webinar Series:

The “But for” Principle: Getting to Your Impact

Learn More

Data Visualization: Decision-Making Tools and Methods for Communities

Learn More

What’s Your Program Worth? Evaluation Strategies for Documenting the Dollar Value of Extension Programs

Learn More

Evaluating Community Development Impacts Using Qualitative Indicators

Learn More

Submit Announcements

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

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