NCRCRD Webinars

The North Central Regional Center for Rural Development periodically sponsors or facilitates webinars to help connect rural development researchers and Extension professionals with each other and with stakeholder groups. The NCRCRD sponsored webinars are free and there is no registration.  All webinars are scheduled for Eastern Time.

To participate in the webinars go to: – log in as a Guest and Enter Room.


Building Community Capacity Through Strategic Planning

February 9, 2016  |  2:00 PM Eastern Time

To evaluate the extent to which Extension’s strategic planning practices vary across and within states, researchers from University of Illinois Extension and Ohio State University Extension conducted a series of investigative procedures to determine how, and with what groups, strategic planning is currently being executed; what procedures or components of procedures are being used, and if they are being used similarly throughout Extension; how outcomes are being measured; how data are collected, documented and shared; what materials are being used to facilitate strategic planning; and how to strengthen Extension’s role in empowering communities and organizations through strategic planning processes. Join us to learn what is happening and discuss ideas and directions for “what should be next” in strategic planning tools.

Anne H. Silvis, University of Illinois Extension, serves as Assistant Dean and Program Leader for Community and Economic Development. Anne’s work focuses on program development, planning, and helping communities and organizations manage conflict.

Becky Nesbitt, Ohio State University Extension, serves as an Assistant Professor and Educator in Community Development. Becky works with a variety of community organizations, elected officials, nonprofits, and businesses to help develop strategies to build capacity, improve effectiveness, and envision sustainability through organizational and leadership development.


Tribal Community Development Projects in the Great Lakes Regions

February 25, 2016  |  1:00 PM Eastern Time

Learn how Extension can do a better job in working with their Native communities and as concerned citizen’s involve the population in a more meaningful and creative way? This initiative provided three levels of training on community development; analysis, planning, and implementation. 

  • Lessons learned
  • Across state relationship
  • Next steps-report back to tribes and findings
  • Implementation in communities
  • How we are evaluating implementation from training perspective and our own implementation

Emily Proctor, MSW, BASW, earned her degrees from the Michigan State University- School of Social Work.  She is a citizen of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, Harbor Springs, MI, and serves as a Tribal Extension Educator, Greening Michigan Institute for Michigan Tribal Communities, with her home office located in Emmet County, Michigan State University Extension.  As the Tribal Extension  Educator her projects include the development and delivery of educational programs in the areas of Tribal Governance, Gerontology, Diversity, and youth leadership.  She currently is a board member of the Michigan Indian Education Council.  She has also worked as a Child Protective Services Worker, as an associate Child welfare commissioner and was elected for the third time to be the Speaker of the Annual Community for her Tribal Nation. She enjoys making quilts as a way to contribute to her community.

Dawn Newman, MA, BS, joined University of Minnesota Extension as the regional director serving Northwest Minnesota in 2004. As a liaison for American Indian and Tribal Partnerships and Co-Chair of the American Indian Task Force, Dawn has helped to bring Extension volunteer and family programs to Minnesota’s American Indian Tribes. A trained facilitator, Dawn has convened community groups to identify needs for undeserved audiences through listening sessions, focus groups, appreciative inquiry, focused conversations and dialogues.

Brian Gauthier, BS earned his degree from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point. After graduation he came home to Lac du Flambeau where currently he serves as the Community, Natural Resources, and Economic Development Educator and Department Head for the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension on the Lac du Flambeau Reservation. Brian also is the coordinator of Cooperative Extension’s Native American Taskforce covering. Brian’s programming focuses on natural resource education, organizational development and community planning. He is currently leading a strategic planning initiative for the Lac du Flambeau Tribe.


Visit for more information.

Global Teacher Fellowship Program

RTGF-LOGO-2011Applications for Rural Trust’s 2016 Global Teacher Fellowship Program are due January 30, 2016

The application deadline is quickly approaching!


Up to 25 fellowships will be awarded in 2016 to support the professional and personal development of rural teachers. The awards (up to $5,000 for individual teachers and $10,000 for a team of two or more teachers) support teachers’ participation in self-designed summer learning experiences and a two-day place-based learning institute in the fall.

This fellowship is a stand-alone grant not meant to supplement other grant funds for larger projects.

Teachers are encouraged to center their learning in an international travel and study experience, out of which they develop interdisciplinary, place-based learning curricula aligned with their specific state and local content standards.

Eligibility: Any K–12 teacher working full-time and teaching at least 60% time in a rural community can apply for the fellowship. Counselors, media specialists and other school personnel working in a teaching setting for at least 60% of their paid work time may also apply. Each applicant much have 4 years teaching experience by the fellowship start date.

The Rural Trust defines a rural community by National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) locale codes: 32 (Town, Distant); 33 (Town, Remote); 41 (Rural, Fringe); 42 (Rural, Distant); or 43 (Rural, Remote). If your school is listed in one of these locale codes, you are eligible to apply. If your school or district is REAP eligible, you may also apply. For more details on eligibility,see the FAQs page.

Visit the Rural Trust’s Global Teacher Fellowship website at
for additional details and application information.

Conference Panels at NCTA

EntrePanelDr. Scott Mickelsen, associate dean at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, introduced presenters and moderated several local sessions at the 2015 Rural Futures Conference held Oct. 22 on the NCTA campus and at Nebraska Innovation Campus in Lincoln.

A panel of rural entrepreneurs included, from left, Mickelsen, Ken Rahjes, Elwood, owner of Authentic Ag, Inc., and editor of electronic news organization,; Sarah Pinet, goat dairy owner and national award-winning cheesemaker of Victory Hill Farm, Scottsbluff; and Barry Fox, co-owner of several enterprises at Broken Bow, including Kinkaider Brewing Company, Diamond Express Car Wash, and Cobblestone Hotel and Suites.  The panel discussed positive aspects and challenges of starting a small business and energizing others in rural areas.

HStrio.editDr. Scott Mickelsen also hosted a discussion on agricultural workforce development with representatives of three high schools associated with NCTA’s dual credit programs. They included, from left, Dustin Favinger, counselor at Cozad Public Schools, Cindy Burton, counselor with Cambridge Public Schools, and Dean Tickle, superintendent with Elm Creek Public Schools.

Research News: Research Fair, NU FEWS & More

Latest Research News is ready to read online

Click the link below and start enjoying this issue of Research News from UNL’s Office of Research and Economic Development.
Read the full newsletter online »

Research Fair is Nov. 10-11

The fall UNL Research Fair Nov. 10-11 features sessions on enhancing research collaborations and competitiveness, information on state economic development programs and the grand opening events for the new regional Research Data Center, along with celebrations of faculty and postdoc achievements. Full Article »

NU FEWS aims to engage faculty campuswide

Generating new ideas and identifying interdisciplinary research teams focused on research at the intersection of food, energy and water systems is the goal of NU FEWS, a new campuswide initiative. Full Article »

Research Fair offers opportunities to celebrate, share ideas

November is suddenly upon us and with it comes my favorite week of the year fall UNL Research Fair week. Our Fall Research Fair starts Nov. 10 with the Faculty Recognition Breakfast, where I have the pleasure of bragging about your accomplishments. Following the breakfast we have two days of topics and speakers that offer something for everyone. Full Article »

Webinar: Characterizing Food Retail in Rural Northeast Michigan

The MSU Center for Regional Food Systems and the Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition (based in Omaha, NE) have been conducting research into rural food access issues in Northeast Michigan (lower peninsula).  The area of the study is approximately 15 counties and runs  from Clare north on Highway 127 to the Mackinac Bridge, with the southern boundary running from Clare east to Tawas City.   We are finishing the report for this project soon.

We are planning a webinar on Tuesday November 24th from 2-3 pm EST to share a summary of our findings:

Characterizing food retail in rural northeast Michigan: Opportunities to improve healthy food access 

Courtney Pinard with the Gretchen Swanson Center in Omaha Nebraska, Chris Bardenhagen (MSU CSUS graduate student) and myself will be presenting and responding to questions. We will have the report completed and available through a website link by the time of the webinar.

If you are interested in participating in this webinar please RSVP at the link below.  We will be using Zoom technology for the webinar and will send you more information to connect to the webinar after you have RSVP’d.

RSVP Here »


CIRD Issues Request for Proposals

Funding and Design Assistance Available for Rural Communities

Citizen’s Institute on Rural DesignTM Issue Request for Proposals

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

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New York, NY— The Citizens’ Institute on Rural DesignTM (CIRD) has issued a request for proposals to rural communities interested in applying for funding to host a community design workshop in either 2016 or 2017.

The Citizens’ Institute on Rural DesignTM is a National Endowment for the Arts leadership initiative in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Project for Public Spaces, Inc., along with the Orton Family Foundation. CIRD provides communities access to the resources they need to convert their own good ideas into reality.

CIRD offers annual competitive funding to six small towns or rural communities to host a two-and-ahalf day community development and design workshop. With assistance from a wide range of design, planning, and creative placemaking professionals, the workshops are intended to bring together local leaders from non-profits, community organizations, and government agencies to develop actionable solutions to the communities’ pressing development challenges. The communities will receive additional support through webinars, conference calls, and web-based resources on

Design and development challenges include but are not limited to the following: Main Street revitalization, managing and shaping community growth, the design of community-supportive transportation systems, preservation of natural and historic landscapes and buildings, protecting working agricultural lands, and maximizing the role of arts and culture as an economic driver for local and regional economies. Since 1991 CIRD has convened more than 70 workshops in all regions of the country, empowering residents to leverage local assets today in order to build better places to live, work, and play in the future.

The deadline for submitting a proposal is Tuesday January 12, 2016 at 11:00 pm EST.

Successful applicants will receive a $10,000 stipend (that must be matched one-to-one) in addition to in-kind professional design expertise and technical assistance valued at $35,000. The Request for Proposals is posted on the CIRD website: Selected communities will be announced in March of 2016 and workshops will be held during the fall of 2016 through spring of 2017. CIRD staff will also offer two pre-application assistance webinars to answer questions and guide interested applicants in assembling their proposals. The first is scheduled for Tuesday November 10th, and the second will take place on Thursday, December 10th. Both calls will begin at 3:00 pm EST and last approximately one hour. Participation in each call is free but registration is required. To register visit:


Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the National Endowment for the Arts and the agency is celebrating this milestone with events and activities through September 2016. Go to to enjoy art stories from around the nation, peruse Facts & Figures, and check out the anniversary calendar.


USDA Rural Development administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $176 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. Visit the USDA at


Project for Public Spaces (PPS) is a nonprofit planning, design, and educational organization dedicated to helping people create and sustain public spaces that build stronger communities. Founded in 1975, PPS has completed projects in over 2,500 communities and all 50 US states. PPS has become an internationally recognized center for resources, tools, and inspiration about placemaking. Visit PPS at


With its Community Heart & Soul™ method, the Orton Family Foundation empowers people to shape the future of their communities by improving local decision-making, creating a shared sense of belonging and ultimately strengthening the social, cultural and economic vibrancy of communities. The Foundation assists the residents of small cities and towns in the use of the Community Heart & Soul™ method, a barn-raising approach to community planning and development that invites residents to shape the future of their communities in ways that uphold the unique character of each place. For more information visit

Scottsbluff Star Herald: Ricketts speaks on Impact of Rural Communitites

Ricketts Speaks on Impact of Rural Communities

Posted: Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Written By: Maggy Lehmicke, Nebraska News Service


LINCOLN — Governor Pete Ricketts told several hundred people attending the Rural Futures Institute conference on Friday about the importance of rural communities for Nebraska’s economic growth.

“Agriculture is our largest industry,” Ricketts said. “We grow things and we make things. That’s what we do.”

According to Ricketts, 25 percent of Nebraska’s economy is agriculture.

“If you look at the last recession in 2008, Nebraska weathered that quite well compared to other states,” he said. “That was in large part because agriculture had done so well.”

Ricketts said agriculture is what is going to drive future economic growth in Nebraska. Because people are demanding a higher standard of living, he said, Nebraska’s agriculture industry is experiencing growth.

“We are ideally situated, right here in Nebraska, to be able to take advantage of that trend,” he said.

There is a growing focus on quality of life, Ricketts said. This involves access to healthcare, shopping, restaurants and well-paying jobs. He said finding solutions to the challenge of providing those things requires local communities to work with the state to develop local solutions.

The focus on higher quality of life means there is a need to create more jobs in rural communities, Ricketts said. With manufacturing being the second largest industry in Nebraska, he said there needs to be a focus on how to develop that workforce.

“Manufacturing allows us to create jobs all across our state, not just in Lincoln and Omaha,” Ricketts said. “Great Nebraska companies are creating jobs in our small towns and rural communities.”

Ricketts said the economic growth of the state is drawing young people in, but there still needs to be more education about the importance of agriculture throughout the state.

“We’ve got to do a better job of educating our urban consumers about where food comes from,” he said. “Even here in Lincoln we’ve got a lot of people that take it for granted.”

Ricketts said humanizing the face of agriculture is not just important on a local level, but on a national and international level as well.

“In Europe, the perception is we’re all big corporate farms,” he said. However, between 97 and 99 percent of Nebraska farms are family owned, he said.

To expand opportunities and grow Nebraska’s economy, Ricketts said we have to shift our eyes abroad.

“Ninety-nine percent of the world’s consumers lie outside our borders,” he said.

Today, Japan is the third largest trading partner and largest direct foreign investor in the state, Ricketts said. Approximately 20 percent of Nebraska’s beef exports and 50 percent of pork exports go to Japan, he said.

“Japanese diets are changing,” he said. “The opportunity to expand is huge.”

Ricketts said China currently blocks beef exports from Nebraska. Building a relationship with China would mean helping with China’s food security and opening doors for Nebraska manufacturers to sell in Chinese markets and to Chinese producers, he said.

“If you think about those rising standards of living, those are going to be in Asia,” Ricketts said. “We’ve got to do a better job of presenting ourselves to the rest of the world.”

Ricketts said looking at Nebraska’s future means looking at the rest of the world.

“We’ve got to continue to be innovative because the world will change,” he said. “But the opportunities are limitless.”

The Grand Island Independent: Hope for Rural Communities

Rural Futures Institute Executive Director Speaks on Hope for Rural Communities

Posted: Wednesday, October 28, 2015 


KEARNEY — The Rural Futures Institute has no small goals, Executive Director Chuck Schroeder told Noon Rotary Club members Monday.

Its goals are big: being an internationally recognized leader in building the capacity and confidence of rural communities, he said.

“We’re talking about being the best in the world in Nebraska and addressing one of the most wicked problems facing the world today,” Schroeder said.

He explained that bringing about the success of rural communities is vital and how the institute plans to do it to counteract the wicked problem of rural stagnation.

“Rural matters,” said Schroeder. “Rural matters economically. It matters socially. It matters culturally. It matter environmentally to not only states like Nebraska but to the United States and the planet on which we live.”

Schroeder said six factors, researched by Lindsey Hastings of Nebraska Human Resources Institute, define a successful rural community. Hastings observed how rural communities moved leadership from one generation to another.

The six factors are:

– Leadership that matters: Leaders in a community must actively say: “We’re not fine with where we are. Here’s where we’d like to go; let’s figure out the steps that will take us there.”

– Hopeful vision backed by grit.

– Deliberate efforts to invite others into leadership roles, including people who might not otherwise participate.

– Not letting fear be a barrier.

– Willingness to invest in community.

– Strong social networks.

Success, Schroeder said, can only be built if there is a foundation of hope.

“When we talk about hope in this context, we’re not talking about ‘Keep a smile on your face and walk on the sunny side,” Schroeder said. “This isn’t a happy attitude deal. There is real science behind the hope that I am talking about.”

A keynote speaker at a recent RFI conference, Shane Lopez, Gallup senior scientist in residence and research director of the Clifton Strengths Institute, presented several principles of hope: people must believe that the future will be better than the present, that they have power to have an influence and that there are many paths to success but none are without obstacles.

In following those many paths to success, RFI works by three key principles.

First, RFI plans to help rural communities and regions by working with communities on issues they have already identified.

Second, the institute is addressing these issues by connecting partners, campuses and communities. It is working on 31 projects across 17 colleges and universities, 23 organizations, 12 government agencies, two companies and 113 communities.

These projects reach into areas such as economic development, leadership and civic engagement, community planning and marketing, health care, and the justice system.

The final principle is to strengthen intergenerational leadership and engagement in rural areas through programs such as Connecting Young Nebraskans and Rural Serviceship Program

“One thing we do know is it’s not the size of the population, not the proximity to the interstate or the economic mix in the community that matters,” Schroeder said. “What matters is leadership. It never fails. RFI is not in the business of trying to save every rural community in Nebraska, the country or the world. That cannot be done. We are in the business of finding those communities where there is a small cadre of leaders who have a sense of where they want to go and issues they want to address.

“When we can draw some resources around helping them, we know we can make a difference.”

2015-16 Heuermann Series to kick off with Buffetts

How every person can play an important role in solutions to local, national and global challenges will be the focus of the first Heuermann series event of the 2015-2016 season on Oct. 21.

Howard G. Buffett and Howard W. Buffett will take part in a discussion moderated by Ronnie Green, University of Nebraska vice president, IANR Harlan vice chancellor and interim senior vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The discussion, which is free and open to the public, will be at 5 p.m. at the Nebraska Innovation Campus auditorium, 2021 Transformation Drive.

The Buffetts will discuss how to find solutions to some of the most challenging problems facing society. Together, they co-authored the New York Times bestseller “40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World,” which examines global agriculture, hunger and food systems challenges.

Howard G. Buffett is chairman and CEO of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, a private charitable foundation working to catalyze transformational change in the most impoverished areas of the world. He oversees three foundation-operated research farms in Illinois, Arizona and South Africa; a family farm in central Illinois; and farms with his son in Nebraska. Buffett serves as the undersheriff in Macon County, Illinois. He has traveled to 139 countries and authored eight books on conservation, wildlife and the human condition. He serves on the corporate boards of Berkshire Hathaway, Lindsay Corporation and the Coca-Cola Company. In 2005, the UNL College of Journalism and Mass Communications recognized Buffett’s contributions to journalism with the Will Owen Jones Distinguished Journalist of the Year Award.

Howard W. Buffett is a lecturer at UNL and Columbia University, where he teaches on topics related to international and public affairs, philanthropy, and food and agricultural policy. He also serves on the Board of Counselors for the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Buffett resides in Omaha, where he operates a 400-acre farm enrolled in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Conservation Stewardship Program.

The discussion is in conjunction with the third national Rural Futures Conference, hosted by the Rural Futures Institute. The conference presents opportunities for people to work together to build hope and develop a vision for invigorating rural communities. In addition to Nebraska Innovation Campus, the conference will take place at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis. For more information and to register, visit

The Heuermann Lectures are made possible through a gift from B. Keith and Norma Heuermann of Phillips. The Heuermanns are longtime university supporters with strong commitment to Nebraska’s production agriculture, natural resources, rural areas and people.

The lectures focus on providing and sustaining enough food, natural resources and renewable energy for the world’s people, and on securing the sustainability of rural communities where the vital work of producing food and renewable energy occurs. Lectures stream live at and are archived at that site soon after the event. They also air on NET2 World at a later date.

Posted in General, Ag news on Friday, October 9, 2015.

Igniting Powerful Action

Igniting Powerful Action
with Dr. Denise A. Trudeau Polkas, leadership coach with Blue Egg Leadership and SynoVation Valley Leadership Academy

We live in the age of overflowing resources. You have the opportunity to Pick YOUR TOMATOES and chose from dozens of resources at any given time. Only you have the power to use these resources as INGREDIENTS that will create the best “SECRET SAUCE” of your life! We all have great ideas STEWING in our minds and hearts. We have the power to choose, create and make bold moves! Discover how to take ACTION with your dream of starting or expanding a business, your idea of contributing to local communities and invent bold ways to make a positive impact for those around us. Join us to help you CREATE, STEW and PRESERVE your “BEST RECIPE” for action!

November 17, 2015
Central Community College-Ord Learning Center | 1514 K Street | Ord, Nebraska
9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Register to attend at :
Cost: $25 | Pay at the door
Lunch will be included

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Hosted by: Central Community College-Ord Learning Center
Sponsored by: Connecting Young Nebraskans, SynoVation Valley Leadership Academy