STARKVILLE — The Southern Rural Development Center (SRDC) at Mississippi State University (MSU) will administer a federally funded program that encourages new and innovative research on food and nutrition assistance issues.
After a nationwide competition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service selected the SRDC to host the RIDGE Center for Targeted Food and Nutrition Assistance Research. The new Research Innovation and Development Grants in Economics, or RIDGE, Center will focus on food and nutrition assistance issues and challenges specific to rural America. Additionally, it will serve as a funding source for doctoral students who are pursuing research aligned with the priorities of the RIDGE Center.
The center will receive annual funding of $250,000 to support its research activities for up to five years.
“The announcement of the new center comes at a crucial time,” said SRDC Director and MSU professor of economics Bo Beaulieu. “The nation’s continuing economic struggles have placed a greater emphasis on the importance of ensuring that the nation’s food assistance and nutrition programs are effectively meeting the needs of people and communities in rural America.”
Beaulieu, who will serve as director of the center, said the federally supported research hub will devote special attention to the food and nutrition challenges of rural America’s racial and ethnic minorities, populations affected by poverty and people struggling with obesity.