What is the Nevada Rural Development Council?

Rural Development Councils were originally conceived and established across the country in the early 1990s and were supported in the early days by federal funding. When the NRDC was created, that funding had all but disappeared, however, the organization was able to start operations due to generous support from the local USDA-Rural Development office. An extensive and representative Board was formed and several action committees established around themes such as: renewable energy, agricultural sustainability, affordable housing, leadership, broadband development etc. 

Due to funding constraints the NRDC has never been able to meet its initial objectives or true potential as the mouthpiece and representative for Nevada’s rural communities. While there are many organizations involved in community and economic development throughout rural Nevada, their efforts are not well coordinated or sufficiently well-known or understood, mainly because of lack of collaboration and coordination.

The current Board of Directors of the NRDC is acutely aware of the need for better collaboration and is seeking ways to make this happen.

In 2008, the NRDC in conjunction with NCED’s Community Development Division introduced Rural Community Assessments to Nevada. The Community Assessment methodology was based on a highly successful model developed and used extensively by the Wyoming Rural Development Council. To date, the NRDC has conducted 10 Community Assessments in communities across rural Nevada and has received extensive support from the State CDBG program in doing these assessments. At the end of the assessment period, which involves several days in each community and several weeks of reflection and research, community residents are provided with a report setting out their thoughts as recorded by the assessment team and ideas and suggestions on how to tackle the issues and challenges raised through the assessment.

The NRDC Community Assessment model provides an outstanding example of collaboration between resource partners and the Board is considering other programs that might be offered by the Council to better serve rural Nevada.