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Purdue named new home for rural development center

Maria Marshall (photo courtesy of Purdue University)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) – The North Central Regional Center for Rural Development is moving to Purdue University. The center, which will officially call the West Lafayette campus home on Tuesday, is one of four regional centers funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the land-grant universities in the 12-state region.

The more than 50-year-old organization addresses critical issues regarding growth and impact of rural communities. Purdue says Maria Marshall, a professor of agricultural economics who joined the university in 2003, is the new NCRCRD director.

“Purdue and the College of Agriculture have always had a deep commitment to rural development. Interdisciplinary strengths are what we can bring to the rest of the region and for the betterment of rural communities across the nation and world,” said Marshall.

Michael Wilcox, Purdue Extension’s assistant director and program leader for community development, will be the organization’s new associate director.

Purdue says one of the main goals will be the creation and maintenance of a north-central regional panel dataset that will enable collaboration across states and research. According to Marshall, the effort is expected to lead to more resilient rural communities.

“The dataset will provide information to faculty who might not otherwise have the resources,” said Marshall. “My whole career has been about developing multistate efforts that translated research in some shape or form to make people’s lives better. The center provides a platform for the region to be able to do that on a larger scale.”

Purdue says both Marshall and Wilcox bring prior experience with the regional rural development centers to the positions.