Through research, professional development,
and partnerships, the NIFA Regional
Rural Development Centers (RRDCs) seek
to achieve three issues:
Community is the focal point where people
feel a sense of personal involvement and
take pride in their actions. In communities
people join with their neighbors to plan
for a secure and prosperous future. NIFA
and the Land-Grant University System seek
to inspire and nurture this personal involvement
through the work of the Regional Rural Development
Centers, and the use of base and formula
grants as well as many other programs.
The NIFA Regional Rural Development Centers
(RRDCs) describe vibrant, sustainable communities
as places where people and organizations
work together in pursuing equitable, inclusive
community improvement strategies. Such communities
are not happenstance. Successful community-led
development requires information, guidance,
education, and broad civic engagement.
Communities are facing new challenges like
global economic restructuring and the devolution
of government services. Some are experiencing
rapid growth, while others find their economies
collapsing. Many are experiencing dramatic
demographic change. Strong community development
programs, anchored in research, education,
and teaching via land-grant universities
and their partners, are critically important
to help America’s diverse communities
chart their futures.
The RRDCs understand community development
as the “big tent” of rural development,
encompassing economic development, wise use
of natural resources, human capital development,
infrastructure, cultural capital, local governance,
health and well-being, and community preparedness
for disasters and recovery. The RRDCs support
a wide array of research, avenues for disseminating
research findings, and educational opportunities
to support successful community development.
Visit their Web sites for policy briefs,
conference proceedings, and research papers
across the spectrum of community development.
For example, you will find resources such
as the following:
Building Economic Opportunity
Economic development is an essential component
of successful community development. It is
most likely to flourish where communities
are engaged in inclusive, innovative improvement
activities with consistent access to information,
resources, and technical assistance.
Samples of ways research is translated into
professional development and technical assistance
for economic development planning and practice
- The new in 2003 policy series funded
by USDA’s Economic Research Service
in partnership with Southern Rural Development
Center (SRDC) on Measuring
- The SRDC
Policy Series, also new in 2003,
that features key economic and workforce
development issues, one of the center’s
five focus areas.
- The research and related extension activity
in the North Central region that is Enhancing
Extension's Capacity to Work with Spanish
Speaking Populations, including with
e-commerce and on health issues, summarized
in the NCRCRD Web site.
- NCRCRD work with tribes and tribal colleges to
help Native American business owners
- Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development
assistance for applying GIS and new information
technology to e-business, as well as e-government
and community development–including
its new 2003 handbook, GIS
and Your Community.
- The 2003 Northeast
Regional Information Technology Workshop
on Bridging the Digital Divide on
the NCRCRD Web site.
Sound cultural, economic, and ecological
use of rural America’s rich natural
resources is of paramount importance to the
nation and to the world. Decisions about
land use are complex and may spark controversy
and division in communities.
Here are two examples of ways the Regional
Rural Development Centers are helping:
- To help communities make land-use decisions
responsibly, the Northeast
Regional Rural Development Center (NERCRD) has
built upon and leveraged the scientific
basis for evaluating land-use opportunities.
Its Web site has proceedings from research
conferences and workshops for extension
and community development professionals
in 2002 and 2003.
- For a “toolkit” to help communities
discuss local growth, see “Western
by Design” on the publications page
of the Western
Rural Development Center Web site.
Rural & Community Development Home Page