UPCOMING EVENTS

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    About Us

    Mission

    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.

    Goals

    The WRDC strengthens rural communities by sharing scientific discovery and application of sustainable practices with rural citizens via conferences, trainings, Web 2.0, and publications. The Center aims to help rural communities prosper, thrive economically, and become self-sustaining.

    Priority Areas

    Enhancing Human Capacity through People-Based Rural Development

    Creating Vibrant Rural Communities through Place-Based Rural Development

    Promoting Sustainable Natural Resource Development

    Funding

    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

    Board Member Affiliation Term
    Ken White, Chair Utah State University Extension Continuous
    Jon Boren New Mexico State University Extension 2017
    Dina Chacon-Reitzel New Mexico Beef Council 2016
    John Cromartie Economic Research Service, USDA 2016, non-voting
    Kathryn Dodge University of Alaska 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 2017
    Brian Higginbotham Utah State University Extension Continuous
    Glenda Humiston University of California Davis 2019
    Pending Farm Foundation Continuous
    Benita Litson Diné College 2016
    Steve Loring New Mexico Agricultural Experiment Station 2015
    Frank Metlow Spokane Tribe of Indians 2017
    Chris Marklund National Association of Counties 2017
    Edgar Ruiz Council of State Governments-WEST Continuous
    Lou Swanson Colorado State University Extension 2016
    Glen Whipple University of Wyoming Extension 2015

    Staff

    Don E. Albrecht, Director don.albrecht@usu.edu
    don-albrecht

    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, Assistant Director betsy.newman@usu.edu
    betsy-newman

    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, Business Assistant deanna.thompson@usu.edu

    Photo and content coming soon! --posted April 2017.