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      RS 3:332     


§332. Louisiana Center for Rural Initiatives; creation; mission; duties

            A. There is hereby created as a consortium initiative, between the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center and the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center, hereinafter referred to as the "center". The mission of the center shall be to improve socioeconomic well-being in Louisiana's rural communities by facilitating rural development research, increasing awareness and understanding of rural development conditions, issues, strategies, and policies in Louisiana, and providing rural community stakeholders and policymakers with information necessary for public policy decisionmaking.

            B. The center shall have the following powers, duties, and functions:

            (1) Facilitate socioeconomic and rural development research and outreach by providing a platform for interdisciplinary and collaborative scholarship and education and enhance the ability of the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center and the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center to capture external funding.

            (2) Provide leadership within Louisiana, Louisiana State University, and Southern University in assessing and addressing the current status of socioeconomic development and underlying reasons for socioeconomic conditions within the state, with a particular emphasis on rural and persistent poverty areas.

            (3) Evaluate the potential of various rural development policies and strategies and develop statewide and regional awareness of effective policies and strategies for rural development. Such strategies shall include rural entrepreneurship and value added development, rural workforce development, civic engagement and leadership, asset-based development, biotechnology, health care sector development, and natural resource based development.

            (4) Provide educational outreach and assistance in implementing effective rural development strategies through such activities as conferences, workshops, and training sessions.

            (5) Provide public services to communities and collect, analyze, interpret, and disseminate rural development information for Louisiana residents, policymakers, and other stakeholders. Methods of dissemination of rural development information shall include educational programming and print and electronic media.

            C. The center shall be housed at the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center and administered through a cooperative endeavor agreement with Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center and shall include working partners throughout the state. Participation shall be open to rural development professionals with an interest in rural development research and outreach. The core faculty shall consist of academic faculty within the Louisiana State University and Southern University systems. The implementation team shall consist of selected faculty of the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center's Community Economic Development Team and selected Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center faculty. Affiliated partners may include rural development or social science professionals from other universities, colleges, foundations, governments, or nongovernmental organizations.

            D. The center shall operate a satellite rural development outreach center in Oak Grove, Louisiana, at the Thomas Jason Lingo Community Center and may operate other satellite rural development outreach centers deemed necessary. The Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center has established initiatives such as the community development program and may develop other such rural development outreach activities as deemed necessary.

            E. The center shall engage relevant stakeholders to facilitate rural development throughout the state and region, including universities, colleges, federal and state governments, national rural funders, and nongovernmental organizations. The center shall coordinate and build on existing relationships with the University of Louisiana system, the Southern University system, the governor's Office of Rural Development, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, the Louisiana Department of Economic Development, the United States Department of Agriculture, the Louisiana Forest Products Development Center, the Southern Rural Development Center, the Rural Policy Research Institute, and the Foundation for the Mid South. The center shall develop new working relationships with other rural development partners.

            Acts 2004, No. 796, §1.

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