Established by the Rural Development Act of 1972, the nation’s four Regional Rural Development Centers work in partnership with the land-grant university (LGU) system to address crucial needs in our nation’s rural communities. The Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development (NERCRD) at Penn State serves the 12-state region from Maine to West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

How NERCRD works

Leading Impactful Research

Through its robust research portfolio, NERCRD researchers contribute to the science base so that other researchers and practitioners can better understand and address rural America’s economic development problems. Recent NERCRD research has been used at the highest levels of the federal government; has been cited in groundbreaking studies on the economic mobility of Americans; and, has appeared in highly ranked general science or interdisciplinary journals. Learn more about NERCRD’s research achievements.

Leveraging a Strong Connection to Federal Resources

The Rural Development Centers have a strong connection to federal resources, enabling us to network with other federal and private funding agencies and stakeholder organizations, and to connect them with the land-grant system. Over the last decade, the NERCRD leveraged three dollars in additional extramural funding for each dollar of core funds received from USDA NIFA. See examples of NERCRD’s regional and national projects.

Facilitating High-Impact Collaborations Across the Land-Grant System

NERCRD serves as a regional hub for our LGU partners, linking research and Extension faculty across state lines. By facilitating collaborative networks and partnerships, we enhance the capacity of the LGU system, so that its people can work more effectively to foster regional prosperity and rural development. Get to know some of the knowledge-sharing networks NERCRD has supported.

How NERCRD is governed

The NERCRD is administered by a joint agreement between USDA and Penn State (the host institution). Major core funding comes from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) – and the region’s land-grant universities. NERCRD’s Board of Directors is composed of administrators and faculty from the regional land-grant institutions and representatives of USDA NIFA and USDA Economic Research Service. With input from NERCRD’s Technical Advisory Committee, the Board establishes policies and programming emphases. Plans of work and annual reports approved by the various funders provide accountability for receipts and expenditures of public and private monies. The NERCRD Rules of Operation are available here.