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Regional Rural Development Centers Celebrate 50th Anniversary

Regional Rural Development Centers kick off year-long 50th anniversary celebration with recognitions from Extension Committee on Organization and Policy and Experiment Station Committee on Organization and Policy


Jan. 2022 - This year marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Rural Development Act. Among its many outcomes, the Act led to the creation of the nation’s four Regional Rural Development Centers (RRDCs), which have since played a critical role in elevating Rural America through research, Extension education, and outreach. The RRDCs plan to commemorate the anniversary throughout the year with special events, publications, and engagement opportunities.

To help kick-off the year-long celebration, the RRDCs were joined by two key partner organizations, who each took actions formally recognizing the Centers’ significant contributions over the past 50 years and anticipating their leadership role in the continued vibrancy of rural America. The Board on Agriculture Assembly (BAA) Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) and Experiment Station Committee on Organization and Policy (ESCOP), which provide leadership and governance to the Cooperative Extension System and the State Agricultural Experiment Stations, respectively, each voted on the recognition at recent meetings. (ECOP’s resolution and ESCOP’s proclamation can be found online.)

ECOP Chair Dr. Wendy Powers
“The impacts of RRDCs over the past half century of our nation's post-industrial age is extraordinary,” said ECOP Chair Dr. Wendy Powers (University of California). “This includes the recent work to equip teams of Extension educators state-by-state to facilitate community-based civil dialogue around race relations. The small communities who sought to establish new trusting alliances to revitalize their local economy and health are benefiting from the Coming Together for Racial Understand training program. This is only one example of many positive transformations taking place in communities that can be traced back to the unique and innovative service of RRDCs. There is so much more to come.”
ESCOP Chair Dr. Chris Pritsos
"I am particularly pleased that the Executive Committee for the Experiment Station Committee on Organization and Policy adopted a proclamation recognizing the 50-year anniversary of RRDCs,” said ESCOP Chair Dr. Chris Pritsos (University of Nevada, Reno). “As a member of the Board for the Western Rural Development Center, I can personally attest to the great work the RRDCs have accomplished. The support the RRDCs provide to rural communities throughout the country is remarkable. Congratulations to RRDCs for 50 years of success and best of luck on providing critical connections for rural communities in the next 50 years!"

Passed into law on August 30, 1972, the Rural Development Act consolidated multiple rural development initiatives into a single piece of legislation and ultimately led to the creation of America's four Regional Rural Development Centers (RRDCs). The RRDCs play a vital connecting role in rural America, linking the research and educational outreach capacity of the nation's public universities with communities, local decision-makers, entrepreneurs, families, and farmers and ranchers to help address a wide range of rural development issues.

The Centers will be hosting additional programs throughout the year to highlight the successes and impacts of their first 50 years of service to Rural America, and to prepare for the emerging opportunities and challenges of the future.

The country’s four Regional Rural Development Centers are:

Learn more about the Regional Rural Development Centers at: https://rrdc.usu.edu/.