It all started in 1992.

Since December 1992, the organization has served as Wisconsin’s state rural development council (SRDC) through a cooperative agreement with the US Department of Agriculture.


WRP is a nonpartsian, nonprofit organization that brings together a cross section of residents, organizations and leaders that cross political affiliations and organizational boundaries to advance initiatives important to rural communities throughout the state.  From community centered initiatives that build upon local citizen-based efforts, to an annual statewide Summit, WRP is focused on addressing issues and building collaboration between community, state, federal, nonprofit, and private sector leaders.

WRP has designed and implemented highly effective programming to identify and address key issues that impact rural life for more than 25 years.  Wisconsin Rural Partners actively promotes economic, social and community development for rural Wisconsin. WRP is a member of National Rural Development Partnership and Partners for Rural America.

WRP is an active advocate for locally-based solutions focused on core issues and opportunities. WRP encourages private/public partnerships for sustainable rural community development.  We foster and celebrate local initiatives and projects that promote stewardship and expansion of community and natural resources including:


  • Broadband Access and Adoption

  • Community Infrastructure and Systems

  • Child and Health Care Access

  • Housing Financing and Construction

  • Transportation Maintenance, Access and Use

  • Agriculture and Natural Resource Use and Conservation

  • Build Collaborative Partnerships

  • Identify Critical Rural Needs

  • Coordinate Private/Public Community Leadership

  • Communicate Rural Policy Initiatives

  • 4 Annual Small Community Forums

  • Town-by-Town Community Development Listening & Planning Forums

  • Annual Statewide Rural Summit

  • Top Rural Development Initative Awards

  • State of Rural Wisconsin -  a compendium of rural Wisconsin Data

Organization & Operation
  • ​Membership in WRP is open to any individual, business or organization living or based in Wisconsin with an interest in promoting rural development.                                                          

  • WRP is administered by a 13-member Board of Directors which meets monthly. Board terms are 3 years.

  • Officers of WRP are President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. Terms of office are 1 year. Board terms are 3 years.

  • Partnership operations are coordinated by the Executive Committee.