Regional Rural Development Centers

The NIFA Regional Rural Development Centers (RRDCs) play a unique role in USDA's service to rural America. They link the research and educational outreach capacity of the nation's public universities with communities, local decision-makers, entrepreneurs, families, and farmers and ranchers to help address a wide range of development issues. They collaborate on national issues that span regions — like e-commerce, the changing interface between rural, suburban, and urban places, and workforce quality and jobs creation. Each tailors programs to address particular needs in its region.

The RRDCs bring together the most innovative minds — from inside and outside universities — to address cutting-edge issues without regard to state boundaries. They respond to emerging issues, generate credible science-based information to clarify these issues, and create public-private partnerships to address them.

The RRDCs were established by the Rural Development Act of 1972. The first was the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development, based at Michigan State University. Subsequent RRDCs were established in the South, Northeast, and West. The Southern Rural Development Center is based at Mississippi State University. The Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development is based at The Pennsylvania State University, and the Western Rural Development Center is based at Utah State University. Each RRDC is administered by a joint agreement between USDA and a host institution operating for the Extension Services and the Agricultural Experiment Stations in the respective region. Core funding is from NIFA for integrated research, education, and extension activities.

For more information, see the USDA Regional Rural Development Centers Map.