Community Development Committee
August 26-28, 2002 - Nashville, TN
August 26-28, 2002

Larry Arrington, University of Florida
Alan Barefield, University of Tennessee
Bo Beaulieu, Southern Rural Development Center
Gae Broadwater, Kentucky State University
Hank Cothran, University of Florida
Virgil Culver, Mississippi State University
Ed Jones, North Carolina State University
Sally Maggard, CSREES
Rick Maurer, University of Kentucky
Angela Mayers, Tennessee State University
Warren R. McCord, Auburn University
Jessyna McDonald, Clemson University
John C. McKissick, University of Georgia
Charles Shepphard, Alcorn State University
Greg Taylor, Texas A&M University
Bonnie Teater, Southern Rural Development Center
Deborah M. Tootle, Louisiana State University
Alfred R. Wade, Prairie View A&M University
Alvin E. Wade, Tennessee State University
Tony Windham, University of Arkansas
Mike Woods, Oklahoma State University

CSREES Update:Sally Maggard, CSREES, reported on staffing changes in the Economic and Community Systems unit, new directions toward integrated programs, reorganization in the Economic Research Service, progress on department-wide program coordination under a "Rural and Community Prosperity" umbrella, and USDA collaboration with the National Rural Funders Collaborative. ECS Staffing and CSREES Staffing Directions: Following reassignment of all deputy administrators in CSREES, units are developing staffing priorities for FY 2003 and beyond. In Economic and Community Systems (ECS), the social sciences unit where National Program Leaders work with the Community Resources and Economic Development program, four retirements are anticipated in 2002-2003:

ECS staff are recommending that CSREES fill these positions, some with expanded or more robust definitions of the NPL responsibilities; that a position in Community-led Development be funded as permanent (as an outgrowth of a current IPA in Community-Based Entrepreneurial Development); and that some other new areas be considered for new NPL positions this year or over the next several years. A new "joint" position is already approved for an NPL to work on the Small Business Innovation Research Grant program (1/2 in ECS and 1/2 in SBIR). Other "joint" positions are likely, as the agency moves toward integrated programming. In the newly organized Competitive Programs (CP) unit, reorganization includes the opportunity for volunteer teams to form to advice the agency on the structure and content of competitive grants. There is opportunity for partners to give input to the grants programs. Other USDA programs reorganize: The Economic Research Service (ERS) is reorganizing again. Effective 9/22/02, two rural branches will be merged into one: Rural Economy Branch. Leslie Whitener will be the Chief of the new unit. There is some question about where the small grants program will be housed that has funded the food security research projects through SRDC that have helped alert the nation to vulnerable populations in the south. Rural & Community Prosperity: Progress continues toward harmonizing USDA investments in rural and community and economic development under a Rural & Community Prosperity effort. A Decision Memo for the Secretary has been prepared and circulated up to the sub-cabinet level, several USDA mission areas have prepared joint program activities and budget proposals for 2004 (including a role for Extension for professional development training for USDA field staff), and planning for 2005 is underway. National Rural Funders Collaborative: Efforts to collaborate with foundations have heightened in 2002, especially through work toward a statement of cooperation between USDA and the National Rural Funders Collaborative, a coalition of a dozen foundations working to increase investments in rural America. The NRFC is working with the four Regional Rural Development Centers to identify activities that demonstrate the value of partnering between private foundations and federal agencies on behalf of rural communities. This includes joint work in communities and work on research that enhances our capacity to measure (including developing community-based indicators) project benchmarks, outcomes, and impacts.

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