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The University of Tennessee | Institute of Agriculture

Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics

Frequently Used Tools:

Rural Development

Rural areas, typically characterized by low population densities and relative remoteness, face a wide variety of issues as they work to foster prosperity and growth in a rapidly changing world. Addressing these issues plays a central role in the Department’s mission to improve the standards of living in rural areas.

The Department’s rural development focus includes: entrepreneurship, demographic change, regional economics, workforce development and the economic impacts of agri-industry development.

  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Extension

The Department currently offers one course that focuses specifically on rural development.

AREC 460 - Rural Economic Development

Many other courses in our Department and in the College include topics critical to rural development.

Our rural development research activities include analyzing strategies and providing support for the economic and human development needed to enhance quality of life for rural Tennesseans. The Department’s Rural Development Working Group and Agri-Industry Modeling and Analysis Group, serve as opportunities for collaboration amongst Department faculty who engaged in research on a wide array of rural development issues.

Recent publications include:


Working closely with County Extension offices, our Extension faculty develop, conduct, and evaluate educational programming on rural development issues. This educational support is used to: enhance the knowledge and skills of community leaders and entrepreneurs, build rural community decision making capacity and identify key factors affecting the rate and consequences of growth.

For example, an inter-disciplinary Extension program, Sustainable Tennessee, provides programming through which communities approach growth in ways that foster economic development while also benefiting the local environment and enhancing the quality of life in the local community. Topics include entrepreneurship, and smart growth.