The Western Rural Development Center is a regional catalyst for capacity building in the West. The Center collaborates with its public and private sector partners to promote excellence in research, education, and Extension for the prosperity of western rural communities.
The WRDC strengthens rural communities by sharing scientific discovery and application of sustainable practices. The Center aims to help rural communities through its Extension network so they may prosper, thrive economically, and become self-sustaining.
Enhancing Human Capacity through People-Based Rural Development
Creating Vibrant Rural Communities through Place-Based Rural Development
Promoting Sustainable Natural Resource Development
The WRDC is funded by USDA-NIFA and also receives generous support from Utah State University, Utah State University Extension, and the Utah Agricultural Experiment Station.
Board of Directors
|Ken White, Chair||Utah State University Extension||Continuous|
|Jon Boren||New Mexico State University Extension||2020|
|John Cromartie||Economic Research Service, USDA||2020, non-voting|
|Kathryn Dodge||Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly Member||2019|
|Brent Elrod||National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA||Continuous, non-voting|
|José Garcia-Pabón||Washington State University Extension||2018|
|Mike Harrington||Western Association of Agricultural Experiment Stations||2018|
|Brian Higginbotham||Utah State University Extension||Continuous|
|Glenda Humiston||University of California||2019|
|Benita Litson||Diné College||2019|
|Steve Loring||New Mexico Agricultural Experiment Station||2017|
|Frank Metlow||Spokane Tribe of Indians||2017|
|Edgar Ruiz||Council of State Governments-WEST||Continuous|
|Lou Swanson||Colorado State University Extension||2019|
|Glen Whipple||University of Wyoming Extension||2018|
Dr. Don Albrecht began his role as the Director of the Western Rural Development Center in July 2008. He received a B.S in Forestry, an M.S. in Sociology from Utah State University and a Ph.D. in Rural Sociology from Iowa State University. He then served as a member of the faculty at Texas A&M University for 27 years where he worked in the Departments of Rural Sociology and Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Sciences. He has researched and written extensively on the issues confronting the communities and residents of rural America. Among the issues explored are natural resource concerns, economic restructuring, demographic trends, poverty, inequality, and education.
His most recent book publications include Our Energy Future: Socioeconomic Implications and Policy Options for Rural America (2014) and Rethinking Rural: Global Community and Economic Development in the Small Town West (2014).
Betsy H. Newman joined the WRDC staff in August 2005 after working for eight years as an event manager for Conference Services, a division of University Extension, at Utah State University. As assistant director, she assists with the visioning and strategic planning and is responsible for the Center's communications and public relations activities, is the graphic designer, editor for Rural Connections, and collaborates with regional and national teams to develop training opportunities primarily for western Extension educators and specialists. Ms. Newman serves on the national eXtension Community of Practice, 'Enhancing Rural Capacity.' She served for three years as Chair of Scholarships & Endowments for the university’s Professional Employees Association and a two-year term as President of the Association. A native Ohioan, she has traveled and lived throughout the region for the past 25 years including stints in Washington, Alaska, and Montana.
Deanna Thompson, Staff Assistant firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo and content coming soon! --posted April 2017.