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The Rural Developer - 3rd Quarter 2009


Quarter III, 2009

In this issue:

Message from the President


Legislative Update

Rural Resources

Conferences and Training

2009 Board of Directors

Henry Fischer, president
Rick Nelsen, first vice president
Eric Phillips, second vice president
Tom Lambrecht, secretary-treasurer
Pat Merritt, past president
Fred Baughman
Mark Gaddy
Jada Ackerman
Hondo Powell

Ron Ebenkamp
Dana Baker
Clare Gustin
Bobby Davis
Rand Fisher
Jane Marden
Lori Fischetti
Andrea Cumpston
Brad Captain
Lynn Harkin
Molly Lopez

NREDA Staff:

Membership dues, billing, and registrations:
Kelly Kipping at

Lynn Harkin

Rural Developer:
Mary Logan Wolf

NREDA Conferences:
Sharyn Baudler

NREDA Web Site:
Darcy Watson

Useful links:

Statistics & Demographics
Economic Development Courses
Government Sites
Business & Economic Information
Regional Economy
National Economy
Sites to Help You Find Things
Search Engines

NREDA members appreciate sharing ideas, suggestions, and development solutions. What's going on in your area? Is there a resource or solution you think other member should know about? Let us know:

Member Updates
Update your membership information at

ED 411
Get support and feedback on your rural development questions. ED 411 links you with a fellow NREDA member who is ready to help you.
Get answers now.

Effective Lobbying
Download the NREDA Guide to Lobbying your Legislators for advice on how to approach your leaders and present rural development issues in a way that nets results.

Post a Job
NREDA members and non-members may post a position on the NREDA Web site and have a one-time email distribution about the job to NREDA members.
Get more info.

Job Openings
View postings for economic development positions.

Get involved
Serve on an NREDA committee and share your ideas for strengthening your organization through membership, training, conferences and more. More info.


What does the Obama Administration have in store for Rural America?
By Henry Fischer, NREDA president

We are thrilled that Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager will share the perspective of the U.S. Department of Agriculture with us at the NREDA Annual Conference this year!

Secretary Tonsager came to Rural Development from the board of directors at the Farm Credit System Insurance Corporation and the Farm Credit Administration, where he was responsible for regulating and examining the Farm Credit System. Tonsager also served as executive director of the South Dakota Value-Added Agriculture Development Center and coordinated initiatives to increase the economic value and consumer appeal of agricultural products.

Prior to that, Tonsager served as the South Dakota state director for Rural Development during the eight years of the Clinton administration. There, he oversaw a diverse portfolio of housing, business and infrastructure loans in South Dakota totaling more than $100 million.

With such a terrific resource joining us, you won't want to miss the 2009 NREDA Annual Conference. We have just learned that airfare from many cities has recently been reduced, so make your reservations now. We're looking forward to seeing you in Florida come November.


2009 Annual NREDA Conference in Destin, Florida this November

Searching for new ideas to help your community or organization? Looking to expand your network of colleagues to learn from? Seeking to recharge your personal development "batteries" during these tough economic times? If you answered yes to any of these questions then you need to attend the 2009 National Rural Economic Developers Conference, November 8-10 in Destin, Florida.

"Positioning Rural America for Success" is the theme for this year's conference and the agenda is sure to include something that you can take home and use. From start to finish, the conference is loaded with opportunities to learn and share. Beginning with a showcase of successful small community initiatives, ending with a tour of the regional development efforts in Northwest Florida, and including plenty of networking opportunities in between, the NREDA conference is again a "must attend" event. Learn more about keynote speaker Dave Ivan, Michigan State University Extension, in a separate article in this newsletter.

NREDA Annual Conference Keynote Speaker Preview

Annual Conference keynote speaker Dave Ivan will share take-home-and-put-into-action details on how your community can create and maintain vitality. Ivan will provide two session titles during the November 8-10 conference in Destin, Florida.

Who is Dave Ivan?
Dave works for Michigan State University Extension (MSUE) and leads community and economic development programs for MSUE. His research includes work on community sustainability, including a 2002 USDA Fund for Rural America project entitled "Small Town Success Strategies" and a 2004 project entitled "Can Small Towns Be Cool?" His current research examines ways small communities can compete in the
New Economy.

Members Value Networking & Education

Earlier this spring the NREDA Board undertook a survey of the membership in order to evaluate the organization and gain input from members. A strong response of 29% of the 238 members has given the board much to ponder as it plans for the future. The results were presented to the NREDA Board of Directors at its June meeting and the board will continue to review and discuss the information in order to increase the value the members receive from their membership. Pertinent information has already been shared at the committee level.

New Members

Please welcome the following individuals to NREDA as our most recent new members!

Tim Tracy
Key Accounts/Economic Development
Glidden REC
Box 486; 28725 Hwy 30
Glidden, Iowa 51443-0486

Kate Paris
Agricultural Utilization Research Institute
PO Box 599
Crookston, MN 56716
(651) 331-0936

Teresa Spaeth
Executive Director
Agricultural Utilization Research Institute
PO Box 599
Crookston, MN 56716
(651) 331-0936


NREDA Membership Will Vote on By-Law Changes

The NREDA board has been working for the last year to simplify the NREDA membership categories. Language that will clarify the types of NREDA memberships has been developed and will be placed before the membership at the NREDA annual meeting in November.

A simplification of membership categories will leave individual, student, and honorary members as the three types of memberships. Organizations that have more than one individual member join NREDA will pay reduced dues for the second and any subsequent memberships.

A clarification of the types of individuals eligible to be a member of NREDA will also be presented to the membership. Such a clarification will be used to define the makeup of the board of directors. NREDA is intended to be an organization that promotes the education and professional development of practitioners that work in rural America. While vendors or consultants are welcomed as members of NREDA, the clarification of the type of membership will assure that the majority of board members are front-line economic development professionals working for local or regional not for profit groups dedicated to economic development in rural America.

Additional information about the by-law changes will be forthcoming and will be voted on at the NREDA 2009 Membership meeting.


Economic Gardening Conference hosted in rural South Dakota

On June 17-19, three South Dakota Communities were host to the 7th Annual International Economic Gardening Conference (East River Electric was one of the many sponsors). In case you think that is a conference on horticulture, think again. Economic Gardening refers to a system to help local entrepreneurs grow their businesses. Started in Littleton Colorado, Economic Gardening, as an economic development approach has gained momentum in recent years. If you go to the site you will see just what Economic Gardening can do to boost the communities economy. The conference was held at a historic Ft. Sisseton, a rural location equidistant between three small communities of under 2,500. There were over 80 people in attendance from Japan, Kenya, Australia and about a dozen states. The Fort installed wireless internet access in their great room, so we all had access to state of the art technology in an 1870's building. Proof positive that you can hold a conference in rural America and people will show up. It was a great opportunity to learn.

One of my take aways, in addition to a greater understanding of economic gardening, was the web site,, which lets you look at what drives your local economy. The site is sorted by state and county. The site provides a baseline for seeing what types of employers and stages exist in a region - and their share of establishments and jobs. The growth section follows openings, closings, expansions, contractions, move-ins and move-outs of establishments - showing how this activity affects job gains and losses.

To look at the conference, view photos of the site, download presentations and join the dialog on economic gardening, the hosts have set up a website at This is an open site, so anyone can join in the discussion.

NADO Annual Training Conference Offers Member Rate to NREDA members; Green Technology Mobile Workshop Offered During NADO's 2009 Annual Conference

The NADO Annual Training Conference will be held August 28-September 1 in Chicago. This conference offers great plenary sessions (see below), mobile tours and four tracks of break out sessions (a total of 24 sessions). If you are working on building relationships with your local governments or regional development organizations, or just want a broad perspective on community and economic development, this conference offers that and more. NADO has offered NREDA members the ability to register at the NADO member rate, so act now as rooms go fast. NADO now offers the option of registering on line and paying with a credit card. To access this convenient method for registering and paying for the conference, visit For more information about online registration, contact Tawanna Harley at 202.624.7806 or

"Save Energy, Save Your Community" Seminar Recap

Where would you have a seminar on "Save Energy, Save Your Community"?

If you were the NREDA, you would look to one of the most committed-to-green companies in the U.S. Then you would look for a LEED Platinum building... Great River Energy met the search criteria in both instances. The wholesale electric provider to 28 distribution electric cooperatives serving 645,000 member consumers in Minnesota and Wisconsin, proved the perfect place. With its landmark wind turbine visible from miles around Maple Grove, Minn., GRE headquarters houses three types of renewable energy and every energy efficient (and then some) innovation imaginable.

The Eldridge Collaborative

Representatives from rural national, regional and state organizations met July 7, 2009 in Lawrence, Kansas at the Eldridge Hotel Extension to discuss the merits of establishing a collaborative that will focus on the interrelationship of quality health care and community and economic development.

Milan Wall, Hartland Center for Leadership Development, opened the meeting with a discussion of the principles involved in collaboration.

Additional Resources

A steep recession and financial meltdown have led to tight credit markets in rural America. In the latest issue of the Main Street Economist, economist Brian Briggeman explores how credit conditions are evolving for rural business owners, shedding light on current credit markets and providing rural business owners information they can use to identify when credit markets turn. You can find the full article at:

The U.S. government's Web site is dedicated to teaching all Americans about financial education. The site provides financial education resources and on-line financial tools and calculators. The site includes the new "Money Math: Lessons for Life" curriculum designed to teach mathematical concepts using personal finance scenarios. View the curriculum now.

The RUPRI article Attention on Rural America tells how this summer, top Obama Administration officials, including Cabinet Secretaries, will fan out across the nation to hold a series of discussions on how communities, states, and the federal government can work together to strengthen rural America. Go to:


The Rural Developer E-Bulletin is published
monthly for members of the
National Rural Economic Developers Association
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