USDA logo Building Sustainable Farms, Ranches and Communities

Regional Rural Development Centers (RRDC)

Strengthening the capacity of local citizens to be key players in guiding the future of their rural communities

Program Basics
The USDA's four Regional Rural Development Centers (RRDCs) play a unique role in the USDA's service to rural America. Each center links the research and outreach capacity of land-grant universities with local decision-makers to address cutting-edge rural and community development issues. They build partnerships with community organizations, politicians, local and state government officials, and private entrepreneurs to encourage locally led and sustainable development. They serve as leaders and primary facilitators of rural development research, education, and policy dialogues to help families, communities, farms and ranches, and businesses attain prosperity and security.

The centers were established by the Rural Development Act of 1972. The centers are located at Michigan State University, Utah State University, Mississippi State University and The Pennsylvania State University. Each center is administered by a joint agreement between USDA and a host institution operating for the extension services and the experiment stations in the region.

Core funding comes from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the regions' land-grant universities. Increasingly, other federal and state agencies, private foundations, and public interests contribute funding.

Information Available
Each of the rural development centers offers a variety of information resources and programs that address critical national and regional rural development issues. For example, the centers offer research based publications on local economic development, persistent poverty, land use, and sustainable agriculture. The centers also work together to offer national training programs for people working on community development. Foundations of Community Development Practice is a three part training that addresses the basic knowledge and skills in the processes, tools and techniques of community development work.

The National E-Commerce Extension Initiative provides online training, an online learning center, as well as mini grants for e-commerce curricula. The goal of this program is to help rural businesses use e-commerce strategies to strengthen their economic health and stability, improve their market share and catapult the efficiency of their products and services. The RRDC's also play an important role in Extension's online effort to support entrepreneurs and their communities.

Through the website people can access research based materials and online training that support entrepreneurs and their communities so they can be successful. The RRDC's websites contain a wealth of information. Visit the website for the center in your region for more information about their programs and publications, as well as reports on training opportunities offered by the federal government and nonprofit organizations, calendars listing rural development conferences and other events, news about funding opportunities, and regional and national links to other resources for rural community development.


Southern Rural Development Center
Lionel J. (Bo) Beaulieu, Director
Box 9656
410 Bost Extension Bldg.
Mississippi State, MS 39762
Phone: (662) 325-3207
Fax: (662) 325-8915

North Central Regional Center for Rural Development
Scott Loveridge, Transition Director
Michigan State University
11F Agriculture Hall
East Lansing, MI 48823
Phone: (517) 353-6644
Fax: (517) 432-1048

Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development
Stephen J. Goetz, Director
The Pennsylvania State University
7 Armsby Building
University Park, PA 16802-5602
Phone: (814) 863-4656
Fax: (814) 863-0586

Western Rural Development Center
Don E. Albrecht, Director
Utah State University
8335 Old Main Hill
Logan, UT 84322-8335
Phone: (435) 797-9732
Fax: (435) 797-9733

For additional information:
Sally Maggard, National Program Leader
Economic and Community Systems
1400 Independence Ave., NW, Stop 2215
Washington , DC 20250-2215
Phone: (202) 720-0741

Website addresses for each rural development center are listed in the contact information section.

Last Updated November 10, 2009

Please note: Building Sustainable Farms, Ranches and Communities is also available for download in PDF format.

PDF Icon800KB ~ 118 pages

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