Updates from Around the Country
Community Leadership In Action: A Vermont Guide to Community Engagement,
Revitalizing Rural Maryland: A Resource Guide for Communities
GrowSmart Maine at a Glance for May through November 2020
View Local First Arizona Foundation's Arizona's current efforts at https://www.ruralaz.com/ and recent annual report at https://www.localfirstazfoundation.org/annual-reports .
Paul Costello shares the big picture of VCRD's community and policy work.
The Rural Maryland Council traveled around the state of Maryland to talk to rural residents about some of the contributions they provide to our state. Hear what they have to say!
Recent Highlights of Partners for Rural America and
State Rural Development Councils
The national umbrella group of “State Rural Development Councils” has reached out to President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team, urging them to consider a partnership with the organization as it plots its rural strategy.
Partners for Rural America (PRA) is a nonprofit component of 1990s-era efforts to align federal, state and local policymakers around issues of importance to small towns and rural areas. Known as the National Rural Development Partnership (NRDP), it has been authorized in every Farm Bill since 2002, and the state rural development councils had USDA funding as recently as 2004. It represents individual state rural development councils, of which 13 have met federal requirements for independence and viability. PRA’s letter to the USDA transition team highlights the importance of state and federal partnerships and the requirement that state councils include an array of federal, state, local, nonprofit, for-profit and tribal leaders. PRA tells the Biden team that is a recipe for success and for building new linkages in making progress on the many challenges facing rural America today.
It also requests consideration for a resumption of USDA funding to allow PRA to move from a volunteer-based board of directors to one that includes a professional and administrative staff. It would also enable the organization to assist states without rural councils in launching their own, as well as to help facilitate the necessary interactions with federal agencies.
“These are basic steps we hope the incoming our role will consider,” said PRA Board Chair Jessica AcMoody, who serves as executive director of Michigan Rural Partners. “We see PRA as being a strategic intermediary helping to connect federal agencies to entities in each state to build unity and effectiveness in public sector policies and programs. PRA can be a conduit, and we are ready to reach out to additional states, to seed their ability to convene and coordinate the rural development leadership needed to advance both good public policy and rural community development initiatives.”
Currently, state rural development councils exist in Arizona, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. At one time, there were 40 state rural development councils, and AcMoody said PRA hopes to restore that sort of a nationwide presence – but acknowledged that will require a partnership with the Biden Administration and USDA.