The NCRCRD sponsors or facilitates monthly webinars to help connect rural development researchers and Extension professionals with each other and with stakeholder groups.

Please note: The NCRCRD-sponsored webinars are always free and all webinar times listed are Eastern Time.

April Webinar

NCRCRD April 25, 2023 webinar banner with image of a field of solar panels plus general information of the webinar

Siting Clean Energy and Spent Nuclear Fuel Facilities: Rural Opportunities and Impacts

April 25, 2023  |  2:00 – 3:30 pm (Eastern Time)

Processes for siting clean energy technologies and spent nuclear fuel management facilities can impact rural communities–creating new economic opportunities, inspiring cross-sectoral partnerships, altering regional land and resource use, and reshaping local perceptions of risk.

In this webinar, Dr. Vincent Ialenti, Scientist, U.S. Department of Energy’s Consent-Based Siting Team, will discuss federal efforts to make people and communities central to siting one or more federal consolidated interim storage facilities for managing the nation’s spent nuclear fuel. Dr. Sarah Mills, a Lecturer and Senior Research Specialist at University of Michigan, will discuss her work on the positive and negative impacts of wind and solar energy in rural communities. She will also discuss her efforts, funded by the State of Michigan’s Energy Office, to help rural communities proactively plan for renewables.  The discussion to follow will explore differences between the various risks and benefits associated with siting different kinds of energy-related facilities.


  • Vincent Ialenti, Social Scientist, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Nuclear Energy, Consent-Based Siting Team
  • Sarah Banas Mills, Senior Research Specialist, Graham Sustainability Institute and Lecturer, School for Environment and Sustainability, University of Michigan

Register for April Webinar

May Webinar


May 16, 2023 webinar banner that shows a group of people kayaking with the webinar title text: Rural Tourism in the North Central Region and Additional National Resources

Rural Tourism in the North Central Region and Additional National Resources

May 16, 2023  |  2:00 – 3:o0 pm (Eastern Time)

This webinar will share a variety of efforts related to tourism currently happening around the NCR (and nationally). Highlighted programs will include: Michigan State University Extension’s Tourism Team (who has actively engaged communities in a wide range of tourism development programs for over ten years), University of Minnesota Tourism Center (including how the Center has been working with rural communities on sustainable tourism development and management), Wisconsin rural tourism efforts, and the National Extension Tourism Network (including its upcoming 2023 conference).


  • Andy Northrop, Extension Educator, Community Vitality – Tourism, Michigan State University; Global Scholar; Chair, National Extension Tourism Network
  • Xinyi Qian, Director, University of Minnesota Tourism Center; Vice Chair, National Extension Tourism Network
  • Natalie Chin, Climate and Tourism Outreach Specialist, University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute

Register for May Webinar

Previous Webinars

Be Prepared, NCR: A Community Planning Approach to Green Infrastructure, Hazard Mitigation, and Flooding (3/7/23)
Presenters: Kara Salazar, Assistant Program Leader and Extension Specialist for Sustainable Communities with IL-IN Sea Grant, Purdue University Extension, and Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources; Carrie McKillip, Extension Educator of Community and Economic Development, University of Illinois Extension; Kenneth Hellevang, Professor, Extension Engineer, Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, North Dakota State University. The March webinar was co-presented by NCRCRD and the Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN).
Additional items: NCR Flood Preparation slides | Green Infrastructure Slides

Rural Broadband Tools and Resources in the NCR (2/27/23)
Thomas Keene, Ph.D. Student, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics & Department of Economics, Michigan State University; Liz Mack, Associate Professor, Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences, Michigan State University; and Roberto Gallardo, Director, Purdue Center for Regional Development & Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University
Additional Items: Digital Divide Index slides  |  BITS Provider Map slides

Extending the Tent: NCRAN’s Focus on Aging in the 2020s (1/25/23)
Presenters: James S. Bates, Associate Professor and Field Specialist of Family Wellness, Ohio State University Extension; Chelsey Byers, Family Life Educator, University of Illinois Extension; and Kristin Miller, Assistant Extension Professor, University of Missouri Extension
Additional items: Presentation Slides

An Introduction to NCR-Stat – the Free Household Dataset (12/7/22)
Presenters: Maria I. Marshall, Director, North Central Regional Center for Rural Development (NCRCRD); Professor and James and Lois Ackerman Endowed Chair in Agricultural Economics, Purdue University; and Director, Purdue Institute for Family Business, and Zuzana Bednarikova, Research and Extension Specialist, NCRCRD
Additional Items: Presentation Slides

Supporting Rural Grocery Stores Across the North Central Region (11/7/22)
Presenters: Lisa Bates, Interim Assistant Director and Field Specialist, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Community and Economic Development; Greg Schweser, Director of Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems, UMN Extension Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships; and Rial Carver, Program Leader, Rural Grocery Initiative, K-State Research and Extension
Additional Items: Iowa State SlidesUMN-RSDP Slides  |  K-State-RGI Slides

Health Care Access Among Self-Employed Workers in Nonmetropolitan Counties (10/12/22)
Presenters: Elizabeth Dobis, Research Agricultural Economist, Rural Economy Branch, Resource and Rural Economics Division, USDA Economic Research Service and Jessica E. Todd, Agricultural Economist, Food Assistance Branch, Food Economics Division, USDA Economic Research Service
Additional Items: Presenter’s Slides

Federal Programs for Rural Entrepreneurs in the North Central Region (9/22/22)
Presenters: Alan Haut, North Dakota District Director, U.S. Small Business Administration; Randy Monhemius, Business Program Specialist, USDA- Rural Development, Ohio; Eric Ness, Wisconsin District Director, U.S. Small Business Administration; and Joan Scheel, Business Programs Director, USDA – Rural Development, Nebraska
Additional Items:  SBA Slides  |  USDA-RD Slides

How We Work Together: Supporting Local/Regional Food Systems through Collaboration (8/30/22)
Presenter: Lindsey Scalera, Community Food Systems Collaboration Specialist, Center for Regional Food Systems, Michigan State University
Additional items:  Presenter’s Slides  |  Webinar Mentimeter Responses

Moving Rural Communities FORWARD: Future Opportunities for Rural Workforce and Rural Development through Extension (5/24/22)
Presenters: Tanya Hall, Community Development Regional Extension Educator, Purdue University; Sheila Martin, Strategic Advisor for Economic and Community Engagement, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities; and Michael D. Wilcox, Jr., Assistant Director & Program Leader for Community Development-Purdue Extension, Associate Director-North Central Regional Center for Rural Development (NCRCRD), Community & Regional Economics Specialist-Purdue University Dept. of Agricultural Economics, Senior Associate-Purdue Center for Regional Development

Remaining Land-Grant Fierce While Accepting the Land-Grab Truth of Our Foundation (4/20/22)
Presenters: Stephen M. Gavazzi, Professor, Human Development & Family Science, Land-Grant Fierce Professor at The Ohio State University; and Michael D. Wilcox, Jr., Assistant Director & Program Leader for Community Development-Purdue Extension, Associate Director-North Central Regional Center for Rural Development (NCRCRD), Community & Regional Economics Specialist-Purdue University Dept. of Agricultural Economics, Senior Associate-Purdue Center for Regional Development

How Can Communities Address the Great Resignations? & Work Ready Life Skills Curriculum Preps Applicants for Job Openings Around the Country (3/10/22)
Presenters: Bo Beaulieu, Purdue University Department of Agricultural Economics; Monica Nagele, Health and Human Science Educator, Montgomery County, IN; and Mitch Wagoner, 4-H Youth Development, Knox County, IN

Retaining Rural Businesses through Conversions to Employee Cooperatives (2/22/22)
Presenters: Michael Darger, University of Minnesota Extension; Courtney Berner, University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives; and Kevin Edberg, Cooperative Development Services

The Impacts of Flooding on Business Activity and Employment: A Spatial Perspective on Small Business (1/20/22)
Presenters: Mark Skidmore, Professor, Michigan State University

All of US Research Program: The Future of Health Starts With YOU (12/9/21)
Presenters: Mae Sandberg, All of Us

Latino Farmers in the Midwest: Practices and Challenges (11/10/21)
Presenters: Corinne Valdivia, University of Missouri; Stephen Jeanetta, University of Minnesota; and Ruben Martinez, Michigan State University

Insights for Rural Healthcare Resilience: A Quantitative Survey Analysis (10/28/21)
Presenters: Sarah A. Low, Associate Professor of Regional Economics and Heinkel Chair in Agriculture, University of Missouri

Using Q Methodology to Measure Rural Entrepreneurial Perceptions & An Overview of Homegrown (9/16/21)
Presenters: Jennifer Johnson Jorgensen, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; and Tessa Conroy, University of Wisconsin-Madison

How to Get the Most Out of the Community Development Extension Library (6/15/21)
Presenters: NCRCRD, Purdue Extension, University of Illinois Extension

How Communities Can Utilize Financial Data in Planning Their Futures: Strategies and Innovations from Rural Iowa (5/26/21)
Presenters: Biswa Das, Iowa State University and Kimberly Zarecor, Iowa State University

Programs, Partnerships, and Pathways: Opportunities for the North Central Region (4/27/21)
Presenters: Maria Marshall, Purdue University and Michael Wilcox, Purdue University

Equitable Access to Cooperative Extension Services for Indigenous Communities: Implications for the North Central Region (3/3/21)
Presenters: Katie Hartmann, Colorado State University and Erin Riley, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture