Accepting abstracts on local food hubs!






It’s official. The May 2012 issue of Rural Connections will focus on “Local and Regional Food Hubs Boost Rural Economies,” so check out the Call for Abstracts and submit yours by the March 5th deadline!


Call for Abstracts – Climate Change

The Western Rural Development Center is soliciting articles for its June 2011 issue of Rural Connections. The topic for this issue will be challenges and opportunities facing the rural West relative to climate change and climate change policies.

Abstracts Due: Friday, March 4, 2011

Click here for the details.

The EPA says, “The extent of climate change effects, and whether these effects prove harmful or beneficial, will vary by region, over time, and with the ability of different societal and environmental systems to adapt to or cope with the change.”[i] The Center is interested in understanding challenges and opportunities facing the West’s rural communities as they relate to climate change. Furthermore, the Center wants to share this information with its stakeholders to increase awareness of the region’s activities and to build the capacity of Extension and communities by providing them with relevant and timely information.

The WRDC is not interested in arguments for or against climate change, rather the WRDC is interested in sharing with its stakeholders the research and community and economic development activities that are underway in the region to address currently changing climates and how these changes are bringing economic opportunities and/or challenges to the West’s rural communities.

The topic of challenges and opportunities facing the Rural West as they relate to climate change and climate change policy is broad in scope and allows for submissions from a wide range of sub-topics including but not limited to the following topics listed in no particular order of priority:

  • Climate change policies and how they are impacting business/job growth in the West
  • Impacts of Climate Change on Agricultural Production
  • Impacts of Climate Change on Natural Resources
  • Impacts of Climate Change on National Security
  • Innovations in Climate Change Technologies Manufactured in Rural Communities

Click here to read and download the complete Call for Abstracts.

[i] US Environmental Protection Agency.  Climate Change – Health and Environmental Effects.  Retrieved February 3, 2011, from

WRDC Board Members discuss Rural West

The WRDC’s Board of Directors are experts in their fields and share a passion and enthusiasm for advancing Rural America.
Watch their videos and hear them discussing some of the current challenges and opportunities facing the Rural West.

We encourage you to share these videos!

California Agriculture & Rural Communities
Dan Dooley, is the Senior VP of External Relations and the VP of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of California. Mr. Dooley also serves on the WRDC’s Board of Directors. Here Dooley discusses current issues facing California’s agricultural and rural communities. Watch now.

The Rural West
Sally Maggard, is the National Program Leader for Regional Development with the National Institute of Food Agriculture at the United States Department of Agriculture. Dr. Maggard also serves as a liaison to the WRDC. Here she shares her views on the issues facing the West’s rural communities. Watch now.

Western Research Innovating Rural West
Mike Harrington, is the Executive Director of the Western Association of Agricultural Experiment Station Directors. Dr. Harrington also serves on the WRDC’s Board of Directors. Here Harrington discusses the LGU research activities currently underway in the West to enhance the quality of life for the region’s inhabitants. Watch now.

Increased Population can Lead to Rural Opportunities
Sheldon Jones, is the Vice President of the Farm Foundation and a member of the WRDC’s Board of Directors. Here Jones discusses the challenges facing our growing world and the impacts this growth has on our agricultural communities. Watch now.

The West: Home of Optimism
Kent Briggs, is the Executive Director of the Council of State Governments-WEST, and a member of the Western Rural Development Center’s Board of Directors. Here Briggs shares his views on the issues facing the rural West. Watch now.

A conversation: The first of many

Hello Friends of the WRDC! We hope this blog provides you with interesting opinions on the happenings within our region comprising the 13-Western states, 4-Pacific territories. More importantly, we hope you will join the discussion by posting your comments, retweeting, etc.

Keep an eye out for our Call2Blog. Coming soon the Call2Blog is a cool opportunity for you to apply to be a WRDC blogger for 12 months (or longer if you, and we, and our readers decide we want to keep hearing from you).

Yep. You read right. We will be asking you to be our bloggers! Why? Because we want you to share your expertise and views on the issues facing the West’s rural communities.

And why not? After all, you’re out there doing the work (agriculture production, teaching, conducting research, implementing programs) so who better to discuss these issues like agriculture production, drought, land management, electricity transmission, poverty reduction, community asset mapping, sustainable development, biofuels, pest management, economic development, and well, you get the idea!

So you got something to say? Think you could say it meaningfully once a month for the next 12 months? Then when it’s time, apply to our Call2Blog!

In the meantime, head over to our website: