The Southern Rural Development Center is proud to honor Dr. Alan Barefield as the 2014 recipient of the Bonnie Teater Community Development Educator Lifetime Achievement Award. Barefield, who has 20 years of exemplary rural economic development service, is currently serving as Extension professor at Mississippi State University’s Department of Agricultural Economics.
Beginning his Extension career in Tennessee before moving to Mississippi in 2003, Dr. Barefield continues to make a significant contribution via service to the field of community and economic development outreach. As colleague Dr. David Hughes noted, “Dr. Barefield is one of the true pillars of the community development Extension profession.”
His positive impacts on community development are evident at the local, state, regional and national levels. “He makes opportunities to develop relationships because he truly cares about people...As I meet more people in more and more places, I become even more proud to be associated with Dr. Barefield and his work,” stated colleague Dr. Rebecca Smith.
Dr. Barefield has made significant contributions in the areas of business retention and expansion, small business development and entrepreneurship, regional economic analysis, community college development, workforce development, leadership, rural health, and water systems infrastructure, garnering well over $3 million in support for this work.
As one stakeholder stated, “When I met Dr. Barefield, I was impressed with his accomplishments as documented in his CV; however, it is his work as an adult educator and his hands on approach that have left a lasting impression...I can depend on him to suggest something that never crossed my mind, but could mean the difference in a good idea and a great one that could truly make a difference.” -- Melissa Parker, Deputy Director, MS State Dept. of Health
When asked what he would most like to be remembered for, his reply: “If I’m remembered for anything, I would hope that it would be for doing whatever I could to help the people of the state in which I’m working and to always strive to follow the founding Extension mission and creed.”
For Barefield’s long, distinguished career spent making a difference in the economies of rural communities and in the lives of those he has taught and worked alongside, it is most fitting that he be honored as the 2014 recipient of the SRDC’s Bonnie Teater Community Development Educator Lifetime Achievement Award.