John Lawrence’s message from Aug. 12, 2019
When you think of rural America, do you imagine corn and cattle and farmers working the land? Well, that’s one way to look at it. However, for the complete picture you need to think much more broadly. Rural America includes every place that is not urban – from micropolitan areas with up to 50,000 residents, to the smallest, unincorporated towns and open country. This week at Iowa State’s Rural Development Symposium we will explore the challenges facing these places and discuss how to build capacity and create support for rural development efforts. Did you know?
- The symposium will cover current research, practices and success for economic development and quality of life in rural America. Conference speakers include representatives from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Iowa State, other Midwestern universities and nonprofit organizations.
- Presentations and panel discussions will cover community well-being, labor markets, business succession and retention, business location and expansion, and rural capital and innovation.
- Participants will be able to engage with the researchers who study the issues, as well as the people who put the research into practice.
The challenges facing rural America are complex and vary widely from community to community. Community and Economic Development Director Gary Taylor says the symposium is an opportunity to learn what works in rural development and, perhaps more important, learn why it works.
Register to attend an area-wide meeting
Be sure to register online to attend a first-quarter area-wide meeting:
- Southwest, Aug. 28, Atlantic.
- Northeast, Aug. 29, Waverly.
- Central, Aug 29, Nevada.
- Southeast, Sept. 10, Washington.
- Northwest, Sept. 20, Spencer.
The overarching theme for the day is rural resiliency. We’ll learn together, talk together and take time for networking. Leadership team members will provide updates, and we’ll also engage in issue-based and program-based discussions. Our goals for these meetings are to improve internal communication and align vision and mission throughout our organization, to enhance interdisciplinary and multi-county programming, and strengthen relationships with our colleagues.
Counties are strongly encouraged to support all their staff attending these meetings. Field specialists who serve counties in more than one area should plan to attend at least one area meeting per quarter, and coordinate with teammates so there is program representation at all area meetings. Campus-based staff and faculty are encouraged to attend at least one area meeting per year.
- Tune in on Aug. 20 at 3 p.m. for a live update from the Structured for Success committee. The presentation also will be archived for later viewing. More information will be provided closer to the date. Stay tuned.
- Take a moment to review the August program update from the leadership team for current examples of what is happening across our programs.
- Seven years and 100 anniversaries later, we now have celebrated 100 years of organized extension work all across our 99 county campus! The final event was held Saturday in Dallas County. From banquets and award ceremonies to plaque presentations at county fairs and ag shows, these events have brought Iowans together to honor our land-grant mission. Thank you to everyone who helped make these anniversaries true celebrations of the many ways ISU Extension and Outreach focuses on feeding people, keeping them healthy, helping their communities prosper and thrive, and turning the world over to the next generation better than we found it.
— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Vice President for Extension and Outreach