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Rural Poverty Research Center

The Rural Poverty Research Center (RPRC) at the Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI), Columbia, MO, is expanding research on rural poverty. The RPRC, which seeks to expand interest in collaborative rural poverty research and encourage related funding, sponsored a conference in 2004 to identify a research agenda and strategies to advance knowledge about persistent rural poverty. Results from that conference are now available on the conference Web site. The spring 2004 issue of "Perspectives on Poverty, Policy, and Place," the RPRC newsletter, includes summaries of the main conference presentations.

Two follow-up regional research conferences focused on regional variations in rural poverty and building capacity for research on rural poverty:

  • "Cultures, Governance, and Rural Poverty in the Midwest,” Chicago, 2004, sponsored by the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development. More information, including proceedings, is available on the conference Web site.
  • "In the Shadows of Plenty: Rural Poverty Research Capacity of the South," Memphis, TN, 2004, sponsored by the Southern Rural Development Center. The agenda, proceedings, and additional information are on conference Web site.

RPRC Co-Director, Bruce Weber developed a “musical chairs’ hypothesis about the current economic system in relation to rural poverty. He explains, “Our economic system is a game of musical chairs: no matter how much we increase people’s agility and speed in getting into a seat, there will never be enough chairs for people to sit in. The implication [on future research] is that we need to increase the number of chairs and/or change the rules so everybody doesn’t need a seat to live well.”

In 2005, the RPRC is working with NIFA’ four Regional Rural Development Centers to expand research on rural poverty and develop fundable research proposals.

For more information contact Bruce Weber, Oregon State University, Brian Dabson, RUPRI, or Sally Maggard, NIFA National Program Leader for Economic and Community Systems.


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