Progress 10/01/03 to 09/30/04
For FY 2004-2005 Louisiana Tech University requested a continuation of support from CSREES to support four primary objectives: (1) to engage other faculty at LA Tech in research/projects that have direct benefit to rural Louisiana. The Center provides assistance and information to faculty and staff through e-mail contact, brown-bags and direct contact with interested faculty. In 2004-2005 we worked with faculty on three major grant/research proposals with a strong community outreach component. The first, to HHS, was to provide technical assistance and support to faith-based, and community-based non-profits (not funded). The second, also to HHS, would provide blood screenings, nutrition education, and community exercise programs in a medically-underserved community (out for review). The third, to EDA, to provide economic development assistance to rural businesses and communities (funded). The Center is collaborating with faculty across campus on five rural research and
outreach grants that were funded last year. Our partners/collaborators include faculty from: Department of Nutrition, College of Administration and Business, Agricultural Sciences, Languages and Literature, Health and Exercise Science, Human Ecology, Psychology, and Architecture, History, Professional Institute on Blindness, Education, Trenchless Technology Center. (2) to provide information to rural leaders on sources of funding, technical assistance and possible partners for their projects. We conducted outreach on the USDA Value-Added Producer Grant by holding 4 sessions on the program in north Louisiana, issuing press releases, developing materials, and fielding calls from around the state. One LA grant was funded. We also regularly provide consultation to area towns and organizations on funding possibilities for projects. We have provided on-going and significant assistance to Arcadia, Dubach and the City of Ruston on their projects. (3) to develop the Center as an outlet of
information for issues relevant to rural development through the website (www.latech.edu/tech/rural), quarterly newsletter, annual conference, trainings and community meetings on specific topics, press releases, and research reports. The website has been expanded, the Center issued one issue of Rural Louisiana and contributed articles on rural development to three other publications, held 5 regional outreach and training meetings on various topics and a state-wide conference on health care infrastructure and economic development. (4) to develop relationships to other institutions in the state, region and nation working on rural development. The Center is currently serving on: the planning committee for the 2005 Southern Institute of Rural Development, the local planning committee of a Parish-wide job readiness program led by the LSU AgCenter, the board of directors of the Louisiana Forest Products Development Lab, the committee led by the Governors Office of Community Programs to
engage universities in assisting Louisiana communities, a regional group to increase opportunities in value-added forest products, and has taken the lead in developing a regional network for value-added agriculture.
The expected impact of the Louisiana Rural Development Center is an increase in the amount of research and projects coming from the university to benefit rural communities, and that local leaders, businesses, policy makers and elected officials have better information available to them about rural development opportunities and options and also perceive improved access to expertise and resources available to them at the university and from state and federal government.
- No publications reported this period
Progress 07/01/02 to 06/30/03
The Center for Rural Development at Louisiana Tech University actively collaborates with departments and centers throughout LA Tech whose missions include assistance to rural communities, and facilitates multidisciplinary projects and research at LA Tech. Our partners include the Delta E-Commerce project in the School of Agriculture; the LA Tech Small Business Development Center, the Center for Entrepreneurship in Information Technology, the School of Human Ecology, the Economic Research program in the College of Administration and Business; the Community Design Assistance Center in the School of Architecture; and the Regional Folklorist. We are also work closely with the LSU AgCenter, USDA Rural Development and the Louisiana Department of Economic Development in the State of Louisiana. The Center supported the development and implementation of a pilot train the trainer nutrition education and exercise program in collaboration with a LA Tech Assistant Professor of
Nutrition, Dr. Mary Murimi. The results of this pilot will be used to seek funds from other sources to implement this program across the region. The Center also developed two research projects that were funded in FY2002 (both will begin in FY2003). One is an NRI grant to develop indices of community capital which will quantify the impact that social and structural attributes of a community have on its economy. The second is an ERS FANRP cooperative agreement to develop a web-based survey to evaluate the performance of USDA's Team Nutrition Program. In addition, the Center's director is collaborating with other LA Tech faculty in a two-year evaluation of Louisiana State's economic development programs. The Center regularly assists communities and non-profits in the state to identify funding sources and to write grants. The Center's website, www.latech.edu/tech/rural, has been upgraded to include more information about sources of grant funding. We also supported the development of and
are about to unveil a website describing the natural and cultural resources of the parishes in Northern Louisiana. We developed a quarterly publication, Rural Louisiana, which is distributed to over 600 individuals around the state. The first issue provided resources on rural entrepreneurship and the second on planning, facilitation and evaluation of community projects. Finally, the Center held its annual rural development conference in June 2003. This conference, Planning for Change in Rural Communities, was attended by over 60 participants from around the state. The Center has worked with local partners on economic development issues. One major effort this year has been to develop a network of individuals and producers in the region who are interested in value-added agriculture. We are currently providing outreach on the Value-Added Producer Grant Program, and anticipate that we will see several fundable grant proposals come out of the region this year.
One impact of the Center has been an increased amount of inter-disciplinary research on rural development in Northern Louisiana. The Center has been successful in identifying and bringing together individuals from across the university and the region that have an interest in rural community development. In addition, the Center has assisted over 20 organizations and communities in identifying sources of funding for their projects and developing viable grant proposals.
- No publications reported this period