2024 NACDEP Winter Newsletter


NACDEP Newsletter                                                                                    Winter Edition

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2024 NACDEP Winter Newsletter

From The Editor

Colleagues: Greetings! Here we are in 2024, and just a few months away from the Annual NACDEP conference. One thing is for sure. Members of NACDEP are and will be continuing to engage in a lot of interesting and innovative Community Development work, making real changes in people’s lives.

We have items in here about award opportunities, upcoming conferences, and a poll for you to take.Plus, the Wednesday Webinars are back! Lots of good stuff to read about in this issue. So, sit back and relax and enjoy the winter edition, and remember, it is not too early to be thinking about submitting a contribution to the spring issue (April) right now.


Thomas W. Blaine, PhD
Associate Professor
Ohio State University Extension
NACDEP Newsletter Editor



CRENET - George Goldman Award for Excellence

Submitted by Rebekka Dudensing
Texas A&M University

Agricultural and Applied Economics Association Community and Regional Economics Network (or AAEA CRENET) is soliciting nominations for the George Goldman Award for Excellence in Regional Economic Development, honoring Goldman (1935-2018), who was an early founder of what is now the Community and Regional Economics Network.   The awardee will receive the honor (including a cash award) at the 2024 AAEA CRENET meetings in New Orleans, LA and an honorable mention may also be selected if our pool and quality of nominations is strong.

This section award will honor an outstanding application of regional economic analysis including but not limited to: input-output studies, fiscal impact studies, and other applied quantitative analyses. Award nominations should emphasize both the research and outreach/extension innovations associated with the project. Visit https://www.aaea.org/membership/sections/crenet to learn more about CRENET and the Goldman award. A rubric is available sharing the criteria used to evaluate nominations.

Award Rules and Selection Process:

  1. Interested individuals will submit a journal article, Extension publication, report, or program that was published in the previous three years accompanied by a one page letter describing the impact of the project by email to the CRENET Chair ([email protected]) no later than February 4, 2024.

  2. Recipients may win the award more than once but not in consecutive years.

  3. Both students and faculty are encouraged to apply but applicants should be signed up for CRENET's mailing list and be a CRENET member through AAEA.  Extra points will be assigned to those who have been active CRENET members of the past few years

  4. Submissions can be self-nominated or nominated by someone external to the project.

    Nominations are due by February 4, 2024 to Kelsey (Conley) Thomas (email submissions preferred) at [email protected]. Her info is also below.

Kelsey L. (Conley) Thomas
Agricultural Economist
Rural Economy Branch
USDA – Economic Research Service


ELC and PILD Conferences

Submitted by Julie Huetteman, Ph.D.

Happy New Year, NACDEP Members.  Hope you are ready for 2024!

We would greatly appreciate it if all Associations and Liaisons/Partners would market/promote our 2 conferences.

Feel free to share the 2 social media images below with your Association membership, and 2 videos on the  ELC website: https://www.jcep.org/elc – it may be helpful to keep it top of mind by scheduling reminders over the next 2 months.

Thank you!

All the best,

Julie Huetteman, Ph.D.


Strategic Initiatives Coordinator
Purdue Extension
[email protected]<mailto:[email protected]>
615 Mitch Daniels Blvd.
West Lafayette, IN 47907


Jaime Menon and Gwynn Stewart – Co Chairs of NACDEP Comm Comm

Times Change…and So Does Social Media

Over the years there have been many changes to the way we consume, and engage in, social media. There may be new platforms and new opportunities for our NACDEP to engage with its members…and that’s what we want to find out.

NACDEP Comm Comm has put together a survey to ask our membership: Where are you on social media? Where do you get your information? If you have less than 5 minutes, jump into the survey below to give us your answers.


Thank you in advance for your participation, and for all you do!!!!


Wednesday Webinars are Back

Submitted by Gwynn Stewart, Assistant Professor
Ohio State University Extension

Nicole Walker, Director
UF/IFAS Extension Polk County

NACDEP’s Wednesday webinars are back, and the Member Services team has a great line-up for Spring 2024! The dates for the webinars are February 21, March 20, and April 17.  All the webinars start at noon, Eastern Time and run for one hour. Register ahead of time to get the links for these webinars:


Please mark the dates on your calendars and enjoy some very stimulating presentations.

Leading off this year’s webinar series is our own NACDEP newsletter editor, Dr. Thomas Blaine of Ohio State University Extension. The presentation topic is about how to engage the public on controversial public issues. Almost all of us, if we stay in Extension long enough, will have to undertake programs on topics that are controversial. Many of you have already done it. Look at the description of the presentation below, along with Dr. Blaine’s biographical sketch to get an idea as to why you should attend this webinar and what you can expect to gain from it.

The March 20 webinar topic is “Creating Sustainable and Equitable Communities,” presented by Ramona Madhosingh-Hector, University of Florida. And on April 17 our presenter is Libby Christenson from Colorado State University, and her topic is “Colorado Food Summit.” Detailed descriptions for these two webinars will be available soon.  Don’t forget to sign up at the link above. We look forward to seeing you on February 21.

NACDEP Wednesday Webinar
Engaging Extension Audiences on Controversial Topics

February 21st, 2024

Thomas W. Blaine, PhD
Associate Professor
Ohio State University Extension

Extension is all about taking the university to the public.  This means that occasionally Extension professionals must engage the public in programming on topics that address controversial public issues. This applies to all program areas, including Community Development. Examples include: teen pregnancy, obesity, divorce, global climate change, use of pesticides, land use and zoning, youth at risk, COVID-19 and the opioid crisis.

Unfortunately, the emergence of any number of these topics can put the Extension professional in a position where they are uncomfortable in deciding what their role should be regarding these topics. This presentation is designed to replace that discomfort with confidence.  It takes the uncertainty and guesswork out of identifying precise roles for Extension in addressing all types of controversial public issues.  The results help the outreach professional identify an appropriate activity and role in their linkage to stakeholders based on specific criteria surrounding the public issue at hand and the professional’s area of specialization.

Participants will leave with a solid understanding on the options they have in delivering high quality programming to clientele, regardless of the sensitivity of the topic to members of the public. This capacity improves the profile of Extension in communities and inspires clientele to reach out to the organization in addressing topics that, while controversial, make a real difference in people’s lives.

Biographical Sketch

In addition to serving as NACDEP newsletter editor since 2011, Thomas W. Blaine has published dozens of peer reviewed articles and abstracts in journals, fact sheets, and conference proceedings. He has made presentations on controversial topics in the former Soviet Union, South America and to the United States Navy while underway at sea returning from surge deployment. His work has been cited hundreds of times by scholars all over the world.  Dr. Blaine has served as a peer reviewer for approximately 25 different journals, averaging over 20 peer reviews a year. He is eager and willing to share his expertise on engagement on controversial topics with colleagues everywhere.


The Rural Grocery Initiative at Kansas State University: Some Big Opportunities.

Submitted by Erica Blair

Program Manager
Rural Grocery Initiative | Kansas Healthy Food Initiative
K-State Research and Extension

Request for Proposals, National Rural Grocery Summit

The National Rural Grocery Summit Planning Committee is seeking presentation proposals for the National Rural Grocery Summit on June 24-25, 2024, in Montgomery, AL. This biennial convening is the premier networking and resource-sharing venue for independent grocers and rural food access stakeholders. It is co-hosted by the Rural Grocery Initiative at Kansas State University and the Hunger Solutions Institute at Auburn University.

We invite you to submit a proposal to share your work at the National Rural Grocery Summit.

  • Who: Past presenters have included grocers, researchers, community leaders, and many more. 
  • What: Relevant presentations may include stories of partnership to support rural grocery, innovation in rural food access, approaches to building resilience in a small-town store, and more!

    All proposals must be submitted online by February 2, 2024, at 11:59 PM Central.

    Learn more at: https://www.ruralgrocery.org/summit/proposals/


Call for Local Sourcing Innovations in Groceries

The Rural Grocery Initiative at Kansas State University and USDA Agricultural Marketing Service are developing a new Catalog of Local Sourcing Innovations in Groceries.

To develop the catalog, we are seeking examples of innovative local sourcing grocery models across the country. This could include grocery stores that are using innovative methods of aggregating local food products, streamlining distribution systems, programs to help grocers purchase local food, and more.

The catalog will highlight pioneering groceries and/or retail businesses that have implemented unique solutions to connect locally-grown food with grocery stores. This information will be used to educate and inspire communities that are seeking more local sourcing opportunities. The catalog is part of a larger research project that aims to help grocery stores engage with their local and regional food systems, and in turn help local producers access new markets.

Do you know any businesses or organizations that should be included in the catalog? Let us know! The deadline to submit is Friday, February 16, 2024.

Learn more at: https://www.ruralgrocery.org/learn/research/local-sourcing-innovation/

Register now and become a Rural Grocery Transition Specialist:

  • Do you want to learn how to support small town grocery stores?
  • Are you an Extension professional working in a rural community?
  • Would you like to learn more about business transition?

If you answered "yes" to any of these, the Rural Grocery Transition Specialist online course may be a good fit for you! Supporting rural grocers in business transition planning is essential to keeping the benefits of hometown grocery stores in rural communities. This course trains individuals to support rural grocers through business transition.

Registration is now open for the summer course which runs May 6 to August 14, 2024.

Upon successful completion, participants will become Rural Grocery Transition Specialists, earn a microcredential badge through K-State Global Campus and receive a Certificate of Completion.

Register soon - early bird pricing ends March 1!

Questions? Email [email protected].  

This course was developed by the Rural Grocery Initiative, housed at K-State Research & Extension, with funding support from the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development

Hannah Jenkins
Course Co-Facilitator
Rural Grocery Initiative
K-State Research & Extension | Kansas State University


North Carolina Cooperative Extension - Gilford County Center Partners with Fuse to Address Food (in) Security

Heather Schaffer, County Extension Director
Jennie Ann Cole, FUSE Executive Fellow

The NC Cooperative Extension – Guilford County Center has partnered with FUSE to help execute their new Food Security Program, implementing a county-wide food security plan to improve the social determinants of health (SDOH) impacting Guilford County residents. Food insecurity is often defined as consistent worry or concern about access to adequate amounts of affordable and nutritious foods (USDA, 2022). The food insecurity rate in Guilford County, NC, (17.1%) is almost double the national rate, making the area 14th highest in the nation for food insecurity rates. Food-insecure residents disproportionately live in historically underinvested communities where economic inequity has endured for generations. Exacerbating these struggles, the public health and economic crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately affected food access for communities of color and those living in these underinvested neighborhoods. 

FUSE is a national nonprofit working to expand social and economic opportunities, particularly for communities that have been limited by a history of systemic and institutionalized racism. FUSE partners with local governments and communities to address pressing challenges more effectively by placing experienced professionals within city and county agencies.  In October 2023, Jennie Ann Cole joined the NC Cooperative Extension – Guilford County Center as a FUSE Executive Fellow to help create a data sharing system of partners and stakeholders to inform a comprehensive community food data plan. She works in the county Cooperative Extension office alongside Cooperative Extension staff. FUSE recognizes that local governments face unique constraints and opportunities. By partnering with an outside entity such as FUSE, Executive Fellows such as Cole, who are outside of government can bring a fresh perspective to existing efforts and help accelerate innovation, enhance capacity, and drive meaningful change.

Applying concepts and models of change through this non-traditional partnership has brought many promising developments to inform the development of the food security plan. Including partnering with community leaders to develop community-driven policies informed by community-based participatory research. Working alongside paid county and state staff builds on existing efforts and reinforces the partnerships between historically marginalized communities and the Cooperative Extension. This impact will be seen as we continue to work together to create a more just and sustainable food system.  

For more information on FUSE please contact:  

Erika Nguyen 
FUSE, Director of Marketing & Communications 
[email protected] 

Contact information for authors:
Heather Schaffer, County Extension Director – [email protected]
Jennie Ann Cole, FUSE Executive Fellow – [email protected]



Earners, Learners, Employers, Oh, My! The Potential Impact to Tribal and Rural Communities.

What is a micro credential? And, how can Extension play a role in this conversation?

Submitted by Trevor Lane,
Washington State University

On January 8th, 2024, the University of Kentucky and Washington State University Extension partnered to invite a national audience into a discussion about Extension education and the future.  The presentation was led by Dr. Mark Mains, Extension Director of Workforce and Equity Initiatives at the University of Kentucky, and Dr. Trevor C Lane, Washington State University Extension state specialist and associate professor of Community & Economic Development. The presentation (complete video workshop: https://use.vg/VRNSkk) provided perspective on the history of Extension, the current political landscape, and the possible future mission for Extension research, education and outreach that can foster and fuel innovation in programs and workshops.

Specifically, Dr. Lane provided perspective on how to use the Community Capitals Framework (CCF), an Extension project management and evaluation tool as a formal or informal resource to direct programs and workshops.  The model was developed by Cornelia and Jan Flora with Susan Fey in 2004. The CCF is used to evaluate and measure (formally or informally) the health of community development and economic mobility.  This approach creates the landscape for Extension programs and learning to improve resilience through stackable learning pathways known as micro credentials or certificates. The framework encourages community leaders and local champions to think systemically about strategies and projects that are unique to the community. CCF serves as an explanatory and predictive theory for community development scholars. 

Dr. Lane’s presentation focused on how to leverage the CCF to support the unique aspect of tribal and rural communities and the importance of serving them in a way respecting the uniqueness of each community, while adding value to the local culture and quality of life.  The CCF is an important aspect of identifying unique programs to support certificates and microlearning (known as micro credentials) specific to the local workforce and economic needs in tribal or rural communities.  The federal mandate for Extension demonstrates our modern relevance positioning certificate programs like Master Gardeners or 4-H to support enrollment and the academic needs, challenges, and opportunities with scholarship, outreach, and research in these communities.

Additionally, the presentation highlighted the efforts of the Alabama Talent Triad Solution, which was established to bring education and training providers, employers, and policymakers together to build a true skills-based hiring economy unparalleled and unmatched in scope and impact. The Triad was created, in part, to make all learning count and provide students and jobseekers with the opportunity to use their skills, credentials, and experiences to match to the next step in their education and career pathway.

Students and Jobseekers who participate in the Alabama Talent Triad will create a verified Learning & Employment Record (LER) that includes the skills, credentials, and experiences in which they have earned and completed.  The addition of verified skills to one’s LER will be based on the training and learning opportunities in which they have completed and are associated with the degree, certificate, licensure, apprenticeship, internship, and employer-based programs.  Additionally, students and jobseekers will have an opportunity to include self-attested skills, certificates, and experiences when verification is not yet available.

Once an LER is developed, students and jobseekers then will have the opportunity to include both their verified and self-attested skills within their digital resume (also provided within the Talent Triad solution) to then be submitted into the Alabama Talent Triad ecosystem.  Upon submission, the digital resume will then match against the employers’ skills-based job descriptions to provide recommendations to both the jobseeker and employer for job opportunities most relevant to the skills, credentials and experiences earned by the student/jobseeker and to needed by employers.  Additionally, for those individuals seeking new skills to become competitive in the marketplace, the Alabama Talent Triad provides recommended learning, apprenticeships, and upskilling opportunities as well as other resources to help support continued learning. By maintaining a Digital Wallet, Students and Jobseekers can build their Learning & Employment Records (LER) through retirement at no cost. The State of Alabama is committed to supporting the career aspirations of all Alabamians, building the economy of Alabama, and supporting the needs of employers across the state.

The three components of the Alabama Talent Triad ecosystem that are needed support a skills-based economy for students, jobseekers, and employers across the state are the Digital Wallet, Skills-Based Job Description Generator, and Alabama Credential Registry.  The Digital Wallet includes the LER, job recommendations, learning recommendations, digital resume, and additional support tools.  The Skills-Based Job Description Generator includes both recommended candidates and proprietary tools that allow employers to build upon their current job posting and support skills-based hiring practices while also providing the opportunity to include or not include degree, certification, and experience requirements.  The Alabama Credential Registry is vital to supporting the skills and competencies assertions on education and training programs, the ability to support credit for prior learning, as well as to validate and approve all credentials available across the state.

The presentation also demonstrated national efforts by the Extension Foundation to build an AgriProspect Clearinghouse that significantly contributes to how Extension can impact the future of academia and education in general. The AgriProspect Clearinghouse has the potential to improve the landscape for agricultural earners, learners, and employers.  Attendees learned upon conclusion of the workshop how states can approach this conversation and get organized to improve economic mobility for earners, learners, and employers.  This is important work because it could contribute to an interoperable Learning Employment Record (LER) further improving economic mobility and the resilience of our tribal and rural communities.


From the North Central Region...

Submitted by Jan Steen
North Central Regional Rep

At our Winter 2024 meeting following NACDEP New Year, Diana Hammer from UW-Madison Extension and Melissa O’Dell from Defy Ventures Illinois gave a presentation on Utilizing Entrepreneurship and Personal development Education to Build Inclusive Economies, giving an overview of Defy Ventures. This presentation discussed the hurdles to entrepreneurship and economic mobility faced by people of color and those impacted by the legal system.

We also heard from Michael Wilcox at the NCRCRD about upcoming webinars, trainings, and funding opportunities, DEI in CD drop-in conversations, and the Rural Grocery Initiative’s efforts to develop a Catalog of Local Sourcing Innovations to identify unique solutions to connect locally-grown food with grocery stores.

Our next quarterly meeting will be in Houston at the Annual Conference where our main focus will be on awards and updates.

If you didn’t receive the e-mail about our January meeting via Constant Contact, please let me know and I will get you on the list. The meeting was recorded, and the link is available by request – [email protected].



Submitted by Tamara Ogle

In this newsletter, we are featuring our 2023 NACDEP award winners. You can find the full awards program here. This is another opportunity to share some of the great community development work of our NACDEP members. 

2023 NACDEP Innovation and Creativity Individual Award Winner

CED Rural Home Loan Packaging Program, Natriez Peterson, Prairie View A&M University

Low- and very low-income rural residents face challenges accessing homeownership opportunities, with traditional mortgage financing often beyond their reach. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development (USDA RD) offers a viable solution through the Single-Family Direct Loan Program (502 direct loans) and the Single-Family Housing Repair Loan & Grant (504 loans). This affordable alternative provides subsidized mortgage loans for modest homes and repair grants/loans for applicants in rural areas. Typically, applicants include first-time homebuyers, existing homeowners, or seniors aged 62 and above.

USDA RD states, "Affordable housing is crucial for the vitality of communities in rural America." Affordable housing programs enable families and individuals to acquire, construct, repair, or own safe and affordable homes in rural areas. With rising construction costs and heightened demand, median housing prices have surged well over $300k, rendering housing and traditional mortgages unattainable for low-income families (Texas Real Estate Research Center).

Prairie View A&M University Extension's Community & Economic Development (CED) Rural Home Loan Packaging Program (RHLP) takes a proactive approach to this challenge. This program offers informative training and packaging assistance to facilitate successful homeownership that enhances awareness and understanding of USDA RD home loans and repair programs. By actively marketing and promoting USDA RD 502/504 Programs in rural Texas counties, the RHLP aims to make affordable housing a reality for those in need.

Building capacity with USDA Rural Development allows CED staff to market the 502/504 program, prescreen and counsel potential applicants, and assist applicants in assembling a complete application. The team successfully submitted 79 homeownership applications, secured approval for 2 first-time homeowners, packaged $483,896.00 in 502 home loans, and packaged $706,500.00 in 504 loan/repair grants in 2022. While the team is currently compiling data for 2023, it is evident that the impacts of CED RHLP have shown growth.

To learn more about CED Homeownership Education Programming, view this impact article or visit: https://www.pvamu.edu/cafnr/homeownership/

2023 NACDEP Educational Technology Team Award Winner

Mapping the diversity of languages spoken in Iowa to improve services, Christopher J. Seeger, Bailey Hanson, Lisa Bates, and Rakesh Shah

The Mapping the diversity of languages spoken in Iowa project was the National winner in the Educational Technology category of the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals (NACDEP) 2023 awards.

The project aimed to help answer how many different languages people speak in Iowa and where are they spoken? The idea for the project emerged during the 2021 Data Science for the Public Good (DSPG) Young Scholars Program, in which two DSPG teams led by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Community and Economic Development’s (CED) Data and Technology team were conducting projects for the Iowa Department of Human Rights (DHR) on the topics of educational attainment and workforce development for under-represented Iowans. Over the course of these projects, it became evident that having a better understanding of the languages spoken in Iowa would be a valuable additional data set. DHR also realized that having county-level information on languages spoken would be of value for other initiatives within the state. The Data team incorporated the Iowa Department of Education school-district’s English Learners dataset with American Community Survey data. After cleaning and organizing the data through a process called “data wrangling,” the data team created a website containing a series of innovative dashboards and posters.

2023 NACDEP Excellence in Community Development Individual Award Winner

Teton Regional Agritourism Research and Development, Jennifer Werlin, University of Idaho Extension

The Yellowstone-Teton region is known for its rugged public lands, wildlife, recreation, and agricultural roots. Despite development pressure, a new crop of agriculture is thriving—small and diversified farms and ranches. Increasing interest in locally produced food makes Teton Valley’s agricultural heritage an important economic force. Agritourism can help farmers diversify their enterprises and help sustain the profitability of working farms.

 The University of Idaho Extension, Teton County, spearheaded this project to highlight agritourism activities in the “Teton foodshed.” Online surveys in 2020 and 2021 were used to gauge local food purchasing behaviors of consumers before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. An online local food and agritourism directory at tetonfoodfarmcoalition.org was also created. Nearly 50% of respondents’ agritourism participation and local food purchasing behaviors stayed the same during the pandemic, with over 1/3rd of respondents indicating an increase in participation. There was also an increase in farmers market sales with a 27% increase in sales from 2020 to 2021. These data indicate a strong consumer market for local food and agritourism. The continuing research, and the development of the regional agritourism website will help promote and assist growth of agritourism—specifically farmers markets, food festivals, school garden and agriculture programs, and developing agritourism-friendly land-use policies, and buy local


2023 NACDEP Excellence in Community Development Team Award Winner

Remote Online Initiative, Dr. Paul Hill, Dr. Amanda Ali, Dr. Dominic Bria, Abbey Bean, Mike Sarles, Jordan Leonard, Trenton Wilson, Jake Marino, Jacob Webb, Kaylee Hanks, and Becky Newman, Utah State University Extension

Utah State University Extension’s Remote Online Initiative (ROI) program has made significant impacts in addressing the economic challenges faced by rural communities in Utah. With limited employment opportunities and a heavy reliance on extraction industries, rural counties often struggle with high unemployment rates and a lack of investment. The ROI program aims to transform these communities by providing remote work opportunities and preparing residents for the future.

The ROI program has been instrumental in bridging the gap between rural and urban communities in Utah. By providing relevant education and connecting people to remote employment opportunities, the program has contributed to increased income and overall well-being for both rural and urban residents. With its focus on specialized remote work training and career coaching, the program offers a solution that creates jobs without necessitating rural-urban migration, which ultimately leads to stronger, more vibrant rural communities.

As the program continues to expand, it has the potential to revolutionize the economic landscape of rural Utah, bringing new opportunities, economic diversification, and improved quality of life to these communities. By empowering individuals and businesses with the skills and resources needed for remote work, the ROI program is paving the way for a brighter future for rural Utah.


Fundly Scholarship Fund

Submitted by Rebekka Dudensing
Texas A&M University

Looking for another way to give back to NACDEP and each other? Please consider donating to the NACDEP Scholarship Fund. This fund supports scholarships for members who need financial assistance to attend the annual conference. Scholarship priority is for members who are active in the association through committees, presenting at conference, and similar roles.



Listening Session Opportunity Related to Rural America

Submitted by John Green
Mississippi State University

Hello, below is an opportunity for Extension professionals to participate in listening sessions on rural population change. Please share this voluntary opportunity with those you think may be interested. 

The Rural Population Research Network (RPRN) is leading an effort to identify the issues diverse rural stakeholders see as top priorities for understanding population change. We are inviting Extension colleagues working with rural people and places to participate in a one hour listening session on challenges and opportunities related to population change in one of the four following areas: 

Agriculture and Food Systems (February 8 @ 11am (ET), 10am (CT), 9am (MT), 8am (PT)). 

Community and Economic Development (February 15 @ 11am (ET), 10am (CT), 9am (MT), 8am (PT)).

Environment and Natural Resources (February 22 @ 11am (ET), 10am (CT), 9am (MT), 8am (PT)).

Health, Health Care, and Disability Services (February 29 @ 11am (ET), 10am (CT), 9am (MT)8am (PT)). 

Your insights will be used to inform future research on these topics. Findings from the sessions will be used to produce a public report, presentations, and publications identifying topics of interest and priorities for future applied research. Findings will also help guide the work of the Rural Population Research Network and be shared with stakeholders including participants, state and federal agencies, and philanthropic organizations. Additional details about the Listening Sessions can be found below.  

If this is something you would be interested in participating in, please register using the following link: REGISTRATION.

***These focus groups are part of a research study that has been reviewed by The Pennsylvania State University, University of Tennessee, Tennessee State University, Mississippi State University and University of Wisconsin-Madison’s HRPP/IRB. Participation is strictly voluntary. If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact Dr. Danielle Rhubart at [email protected]

Description of Listening Sessions  

Agriculture and Food Systems (February 8 @ 11am (ET), 8 am (PT)).

This session will focus on how population changes in rural America affect agricultural regulations, loss of farmland, farmland preservation, housing, value-added production, labor shortages, etc. 

Community and Economic Development (February 15 @ 11am (ET), 8 am (PT)). 

This session will focus on how population changes in rural America affect local tax bases, development vs. gentrification, job opportunities, financing public services, recruiting employers, affordable housing, etc.  

Environment and Natural Resources (February 22 @ 11am (ET), 8 am (PT)).  

This session will focus on how population changes in rural America affect delivery of water and/or sewer services, infrastructure costs and maintenance, environmental preservation, lack of capacity to maintain, protect, and/or provide clean and affordable water, etc.  

Health, Health Care, and Disability Services (February 29 @ 11am (ET), 8 am (PT)). 

This session will focus on how population changes in rural America affect aging populations' health care services, opioid crisis management, access to and affordability of health care services, deficit of health workers, etc.  

Please register for the session(s) most closely aligned with your areas of expertise and interest for sharing.