This session was organized for the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association meeting, held in August 2018 in Washington, DC, and focused on our institutional capacity to support human capital and cultivate economic opportunity over the nation’s vast rural expanse. Representatives of the USDA, the USDA-funded Regional Rural Development Centers, and other applied economists from the land grants spoke about recent successes and future challenges. Organized by Stephan J. Goetz, Penn State and NERCRD; Paul D. Gottlieb, Rutgers University; Steven C. Turner, Mississippi State University and SRDC. Moderated by Paul D. Gottlieb.

The Rural Public Health Crisis: Can the Land Grants Do More?

PDF document, 3.0 MB

This presentation by Mark Skidmore, Michigan State University and the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development, provides an overview of some of the physical and behavioral health challenges facing rural America, and explores actions that Land Grant Universities can take to address them, including examples of programs that are making a difference.

SET: A Case Study of a Logical Approach to Rural Development

PDF document, 9.1 MB

This presentation by Steve Turner, Mississippi State University and Southern Rural Development Center, describes the Stronger Economies Together (SET) program, which helps rural counties work together as a regional team in developing and implementing a high-quality regional economic development plan that builds on the current and emerging economic strengths of their region. Turner describes the SET support structure, participation to date, and results. He also shares lessons learned and future directions for SET. 10MB PDF.

The Scope of Rural Economic Research Supported by AFRI Competitive Programs

PDF document, 2.2 MB

This presentation by Robbin Shoemaker, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), provides an analysis of NIFA's support for rural economic development research. The analysis shows a general upward trend in funding of rural development research, and provides insights into the topics addressed by funded projects and their connectedness. 2MB PDF.

Understanding the Drivers of Rural Development – How Can we Bridge the Gap Between Research and Policy?

PDF document, 435.0 KB

Despite the important research being conducted related to rural development, policymaking rarely is based on the research. How can we bridge this gap and help rural areas? In this presentation, Heather Stephens, an assistant professor in resource economics and management at West Virginia University who has a background in public policy, explores this question by identifying existing research, areas in which more research is needed, challenges faced by policy makers, and examples of efforts aimed at bridging the gap between research and policy making. <1MB PDF

Research as the Foundation of Outreach

PDF document, 293.0 KB

Presented by James M. Fannin, Louisiana State University. 300KB PDF.