Rural development grant 2.18

Written by David Green.

Michigan State University (MSU) is slated to be the focus of rural development research and education for the Midwest beginning July 1. The university recently won a competitive grant of nearly $2 million that will make it the host of the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development (NCRCRD) for the next five years.

The NCRCRD is one of four regional centers charged with strengthening the ability of the land-grant university system and its partners to help build rural community capacity, create vibrant and sustainable economies, and cultivate inclusive governance to enhance regional well-being.

MSU Extension, the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station and the MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) will jointly administer the center, thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service.

“Because 59 of Michigan’s 83 counties are considered rural, it is only natural that we are dedicated to helping rural communities thrive,” says Frank Fear, senior associate dean of the MSU CANR. “This opportunity allows our faculty and staff members to work with neighboring states to foster research and outreach efforts throughout the North Central Region.”

The USDA North Central Region consists of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

Extension organizations, including MSU Extension, serve as the outreach arm that transfers research from universities to communities where information can be successfully implemented to trigger economic development.

“Applying education to economic development is our driving force,” says Tom Coon, director of MSU Extension. “We look forward to fostering multistate collaborations that can address needs of rural communities in Michigan and across the Midwest.”

Scott Loveridge, MSU Extension state leader for community and economic development, will serve as the center’s transitional director. He will chair a nationwide search to find a permanent director for the NCRCRD.

“The center was crucial in helping me launch my research program at the beginning of my career,” Loveridge says. “I plan to help the center continue to play that role as we establish it here at MSU and seek a full-time director.”

  • Front.splash
    Water Fun—Carter Seitz and Colson Walter take a fast trip along a plastic sliding strip while water from a sprinkler provides the lubrication. The boys took a break from tie-dyeing last week at Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program to cool off in the water.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.drum
    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks

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