AgriLife Extension to partner on regional economic initiative

Contacts: Dr. Rebekka Dudensing, 979-845-1719,

Ronnie McDonald, 979-845-7808,

COLLEGE STATION – Communities across Texas are invited to take advantage of a regional economic development initiative offered by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, the Prairie View Cooperative Extension Service, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development, according to organizers.

Stronger Economies Together (SET) is a program that will help rural communities capitalize on the strengths of the region to create jobs, wealth and economic development, said Ronnie McDonald, AgriLife executive director for community relations and strategic partnerships and the Texas Rural Leadership Program, College Station.

“SET provides facilitation and coaching for local community stakeholders to work together to develop a regional economic development plan,” McDonald said. “This community-based approach uses evidence-based planning and goal-setting to empower local action.”

The SET program began in 2010 in eight states. Due to its success, it is now available in more than 50 regions in 28 states. Texas has three regions: two along the Texas Gulf Coast and one in the Panhandle.

“One reason SET has been so successful is that rural communities realize they are stronger when working together and building on existing assets,” said Rebekka Dudensing, AgriLife Extension economist, College Station. “Additionally, funding sources are encouraging and rewarding regional cooperation.”

Regional teams will receive the following: an understanding of the critical economic drivers of their region and the emerging growth sectors and regional competitive advantages; help in developing innovative approaches to strengthening regional economic development; technical assistance and educational support; and opportunities to share information with SET program participants from other states.

        Applications from rural regions are currently being accepted. To receive an application, email Dudensing at . Completed applications must be submitted electronically to Dudensing by April 15. To qualify, the regional team must have members from a minimum of three counties and be predominantly rural as defined in the application, Dudensing said.

There is no application fee. However, selected applicants should be prepared to provide some minor local logistical support for workshop meetings, Dudensing said.

More information is available at



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