Call for Articles


Suggested Topics
Submission Guidelines
Online Submission Form
Notification Process
About Rural Connections
Browse past issues


The rural West is at an economic, demographic, and ecologic crossroads. The current population of the western U.S. is approximately 75,187,681  and covers 1,873,253 square miles. The West continues to be stricken with drought and wildfire while also experiencing increases in community development and economic growth. The rural spaces in the West continue to produce valuable resources while attempting to create more sustainable practices. As of 2010, the rural population of the western U.S. numbered 7,356,764. The Western Rural Development Center continues to work closely with Cooperative Extension to increase capacity building in the West and to promote excellence in research for the prosperity of western rural communities.

Rather than creating themed issues, the Western Rural Development Center's future publications of Rural Connections will encompass a variety of topics relating to the rural West. We are seeking abstract submissions on the following suggested topics. We also welcome abstracts on other topics and research areas relevant to communities in the West. Some examples are listed below. Don't see a suggested topic in your area? Contact Betsy Newman to discuss your topic area.

Community Development
Climate Change and Community Development
Funding Models for Extension Community Development Programs
Population Trends

Energy Efficiency
Sustainable Practices
Impacts of Natural Resource Consumption
Impacts of Energy Development

Economic Development
Rural Employment

Broadband Access
Community Branding/Marketing

Climate Impact
Human caused climate change that is affecting drought and/or wildfires
Drought-resistant plants and crops
The impact, if any, insects are having on increasing wildfire danger and drought

Community Preparedness & Response
Toolkits for Communities (Fire Adapted Communities; ReadyCommunity)
Homeowners (Example: FireWise)
Recovery from Disaster

Rural Health
Affordable Care Act
Impacts of Poverty on Rural Health

Access to Health Care Providers
Attracting Rural Health Practitioners

Affordable Housing
Rural Transportation
Rural Housing Markets

Water Issues
Addressing Drought
Community/Agriculture Impacts of Water Shortages
Abandoned Mine Management/Safety

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Submission Guidelines
You must submit your abstract using our online submission form located on our website at:

The online form requires you to submit the information outlined below. Submissions that do not follow these guidelines will not be considered for publication.

  • Lead Author Name, Job Title, University/Organization, Department, Mailing Address, Email Address, Daytime Telephone Number
  • Abstract of your article (not to exceed 500 words)
  • Category that best fits your abstract:
    • Water Issues
    • Community Development
    • Energy Efficiency
    • Economic Development
    • Climate Impact
    • Community Preparedness & Response
    • Rural Health
    • Transportation/Housing
Abstracts must be submitted by close of business Monday, May 15, 2017.

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Notification Process

  • The Western Rural Development Center will contact you on or before Friday, June 2, 2017, to inform you whether or not your submission has been selected for publication.
  • At that time we will provide you with details on article guidelines such as the submission deadline, word count, charts, graphs, formatting for citations, etc.
  • If accepted for publication in this issue, your article will be DUE to the WRDC by Monday, September 11, 2017.
  • The Western Rural Development Center retains all final editorial rights including the selection of artwork, graphics, and pictures to accompany each article.
  • The author(s) retain copyright of their article and charts and graphs.
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Please direct your questions to:
Betsy H. Newman                                                 
Editor, Rural Connections                                    

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Criteria for Judging All Abstract Submissions 

  1. Relationship to publication theme: Does the abstract relate to the suggested topics?
  2. Sound conceptual framework: If appropriate, does the abstract indicate the development and implementation of a theory-based intervention or research project?
  3. Methodology: Are objectives clearly stated? Are findings included and do they correspond to the objectives?
  4. Usefulness: Can the research, program or plan be applied elsewhere? Is it useful to practicing agriculture educators, researchers, and/or academicians, and communities?
  5. *Origination of Research/Application: Did a resident of the WESTERN U.S. submit the abstract and/or does the project focus on a western community?
  6. 6Innovation: Does the abstract represent research, a program, a project, or professional preparation activity that is unique, new or creative?
  7. Clarity of Content: Does the abstract clearly outline what the article is about, such as project type, target audience, setting?
  8. Format: Does the abstract reference objectives, methods or interventions, results or major findings, implications? Does abstract meet typing and space criteria?
  9. Overall reaction: Considering the above criteria, what is your overall reaction?

*The Western Rural Development Center will give priority to abstracts highlighting the research and programs developed and implemented in the Western U.S. However, we welcome submissions from all regions of the country and typically publish at least one article from outside the western region in each issue.

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About Rural Connections 
Rural Connections is published two times each year and focuses each issue on a particular topic of interest to residents in the Western U.S. Contributors include researchers, faculty, practitioners, and professionals from throughout the nation. It is intended to appeal to a broad audience.

The magazine is electronically distributed to over 900 Western Rural Development Center stakeholders, made available on its website ( and announced in Twitter (@westernrural).

The magazine is further distributed to over 4,000 individuals by the Western Rural Development Center’s partners including the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development, the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development, the Southern Rural Development Center, USDA-NIFA, and reaches an extensive national and international audience. The WRDC also makes printed copies available for the contributors, and as requested by its stakeholders.

Western Rural Development Center
Utah State University
4880 Old Main Hill
Logan UT 84322-4880

Tel: 435-797-9731
Fax: 435-797-9733

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