Around The South
November 2021 Vol. 17, No.7
In This Issue

SRDC Items of Interest

SERA-47 Hosts 2021 Local & Regional Foods Annual Meeting

The Southern Extension and Research Activity 47 (SERA-47) Local & Regional Foods annual meeting allows Extension and research colleagues in the Southern region to come and share the great work they are doing related to local foods and to explore how it might be expanded throughout the region. The goal is to foster networking in an effort to strengthen research and outreach collaboration across the region.

Building upon previous goals, three objectives for the renewed efforts were identified: 

1. Increase interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary collaborations and networking efforts among Extension and research food system professionals across the region.

 2. Identify current and emerging issues specific to food system development in the Southern region. 

3. Assess local food system policy, opportunities for expansion, environmental change, and economic development issues, make policy recommendations, and develop best practices for communities across the region. 

 To register for the virtual annual meeting, Click Here

Coming Together for Racial Understanding Receives National Award

Coming Together for Racial Understanding received the 2021 National Diversity in Extension Award at the annual Food and Agriculture Excellence Awards, hosted by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities on November 9, 2021. The award, sponsored by USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and Cooperative Extension, recognizes significant contributions and accomplishments in achieving and sustaining diversity and pluralism.

The Coming Together for Racial Understanding Team, coordinated by the Southern Rural Development Center at Mississippi State University, has been shaped by Extension specialists and administrators from 22 Land-Grant Universities from 17 states, and other national representatives. The team developed a process to train Extension professionals to help facilitate community dialogues across the country around issues of race. To date, 29 states have sent teams to a national train-the-trainer workshop to help launch efforts within their own states.

Click Here for the Full Press Release

New Book Released: Investing in Rural Prosperity

How can rural communities create lasting economic prosperity for all?

Across the country, many vulnerable rural communities were still striving to fully recover from the Great Recession when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. The pandemic– and the steep economic downturn caused by the measures implemented to limit its spread– hit many vulnerable rural communities particularly hard: from low-wage meatpacking workers in the Midwest to Native communities in the Southwest, and from Black Americans in the Southeast to immigrant farmworkers in the West.

Recognizing the precarious situation many of these communities faced before the pandemic, and the tough work they have ahead of them in recovery, the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis are jointly publishing Investing in Rural Prosperity, which details a framework for advancing shared economic prosperity in rural communities across the United States.

Nearly 80 authors across the United States and abroad contributed chapters to the book, and represent financial institutions, nonprofits, philanthropies, academia, and government agencies. The chapters touch on a wide range of topics, including entrepreneurship support, workforce development, energy efficient manufactured housing, and digital inclusion. The book delves into the challenges of our past and the promise of our future. Ultimately, Investing in Rural Prosperity is a call to action, so we can realize that promise – together.

To download your free electronic copy and/or to request that a physical copy be mailed to you, as well as to access the other content we have released alongside the book, Click Here.


Regional Spotlight

Florida A&M University Cooperative Extension Program launches the Family Heirs’ Property Resolution and Transformation Program

Situation/Need:Florida Family Heirs’ Property (FHP) owners expressed dismay at the lack of educational and technical assistance available to help them clear title to their property. In response to the vacuum in FHP resource support services, Florida A&M University Cooperative Extension Program through Dr. Sandra Thompson, a former FHP owner, launched the FAMU Family Heirs Property Resolution Initiative (FFHPRI), renamed Family Heirs’ Property Resolution and Transformation Program (FHPRTP). FHP as a real-world problem is fueled by social, economic, and environmental injustice (Wimberley and Morris, 2003). Thus, transformational and servant leadership Critical Race Theory, and Marginalization of Education are the foundational lenses undergirding the program. branding, resources, and content cannot be modified.

Community Outreach/Engagement: In 2018, the FAMU FHPRTP began providing FHP Workshops and Family Consultations. On April 20, 2019, FAMU FHPRTP hosted an FHP townhall, which led to passage of Uniform Partitions of Heirs Property Act (UPHPA) in Florida. The townhall was publicized through media outlets, diverse stakeholders, churches, and word of mouth. The program consisted of light breakfast, FHP overview, panel with a Q/A session, deliberative dialogue group discussions (small groups organized around the counties where participants own FHP, followed by one large group to integrate group findings and outcomes), and a resource packet. The resource packet included: USDA FHP fact sheet, FHP Title Clearing Navigational Tool, family tree development resource, and Uniform Partitions Heirs Property Act information. As an addition, the participants took part in a pre and post evaluation instrument on the day of the event.

Community Decision Making Through Deliberative Dialogue: Effective deliberative dialogue ensures that deliberating participants have access to research-based information from experts, including participant researchers .FHP townhall panelist represented FHP advocates (e g., past and present FHP owners, and community groups), educators and researchers, trained professionals with subject matter expertise (e.g., legal, estate planning, county growth management-permitting, affordable housing, and real estate), and non-traditional stakeholders (conservationists). Flowing from the panel discussion, a large group and several small group deliberative dialogue discussions occurred, consisting of FHP owners and professionals from various stakeholder disciplines. The prevailing consensus from the small and large group discussions was that FHP is a complex issue, requiring remedy on multiple fronts.

Click Here to Read Full Article

Employee Highlight: Director of the VALOR Program at Virginia Tech Dr. Megan Seibel

Dr. Megan Seibel is the inaugural director of the VALOR (Virginia Agriculture Leaders Obtaining Results) Program at Virginia Tech, which is dedicated to fostering leadership and capacity building for Virginia’s largest private industries. As an Extension Specialist, Dr. Seibel offers experiential program content around leadership best practices in education, workplace, and grassroots organizational settings and leads training content around facilitation and strategic planning. She promotes stakeholder development and advocacy as outcomes of decision-making and problem-solving leadership around complex issues. Most recently, she partnered with colleagues in Virginia, Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire Cooperative Extension Systems to develop and deliver the Building Your Virtual Facilitation Skills five-session course.

Dr. Seibel is the Associate Director for the Center for Cooperative Problem Solving (CCPS) at Virginia Tech and an Associate Fellow of the Occupational Research Centre in the U.K. Dr. Seibel utilizes the KAI with coaching of educational supervisors, practitioners, community leaders, and student organizations to enhance effectiveness in program and service delivery. Between October 2016 and January 2018, Dr. Seibel took administrative leave from the university to serve as Deputy Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry in Governor McAuliffe’s administration, where she oversaw industry studies and development of proposed policy for the secretariat, while supporting food and health related initiatives. She is a graduate of the Virginia Executive Institute at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Dr. Megan Seibel’s background and expertise in healthcare, career and technical education, and outreach educational programming invigorate her passion for community development and considering complex issues that incorporate all three of these paradigms. A co-author on numerous publications related to leadership and community programs, Dr. Seibel uses scholarship to bring ideas to life through practical application. Megan received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from James Madison University, her Master of Science in Career and Technical Education from Virginia Tech, and her Doctor of Philosophy in Agricultural and Extension Education from Virginia Tech.

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

Assistant Dean and Professor, Agriculture & Natural Resources and Community Economic Development

Open until filled

The Assistant Dean is responsible to the Dean of the University of Tennessee Extension. 

Responsibilities include: 

•Providing leadership and direction to the agriculture, natural resources and community economic development agents, specialists, and programs. 

•Working closely with department heads, specialists, and regional agriculture program leaders in the overall program planning, etc.

 Information about programs and personnel of UT Extension is available Here

Assistant Research Scientist / Rural Social Scientist

Open until filled

The position supports the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FR-SAN) grant. The purpose of FR-SAN is to establish a network to connects individuals engaged in farming, ranching, and other agriculture-related occupations to stress assistance programs. Establishing a network to assists farmers and ranchers in times of stress can offer a conduit to improving behavioral health awareness, literacy, and outcomes for agricultural producers, workers, and their families. The USDA/NIFA established four regional centers across the US. This position will serve in the Southern FR-SAN Region. The regional center is headed by the University of Tennessee.

Learn More


The 79th Professional Agricultural Workers Conference

Virtual: December 5-7, 2021

Due to the generosity of our sponsors, PAWC is pleased to offer waived registration fees for the first 300 participants, deadline for registration is November 30, 2021. Please click on the link below to register for our virtual experience.

Learn More

You Are Invited to Join the NACDEP Land Use Planning Community of Practice (Cop) to Learn About Extension's Contributions to Address the National Housing Issue

Virtual Housing Forum: December 15, 2021

Join the NACDEP Land Use Planning Community of Practice (CoP) to learn about Extension's contributions to address the national housing issue. The webinar will be on December 15th, 12:00-1:30 pm EST. Learn from a panel of Extension guest speakers about implemented programs and impacts. Participants will be engaged in breakouts to discuss the complexities of housing in their community and how it relates to their Extension programs and work.

Register Here

National Extension Energy and National Sustainability Joint Summits

In-person: May 15-18, 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 and Register Here




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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