Administrative Office: 

2769 Church Street

East Point, Georgia, 30344

​​Call us: (404) 765-0991

Fax us: (404) 765-9178

Rural Training & Research Center

Agro-Forestry Center/ Alabama State Association of Cooperatives

575 Federation Rd.

Gainesville, AL 35464

Send Mail: PO Box 95, Epes, AL 35460

Ph (205) 652-9676

Fax: (205) 652-9678

Georgia Field Office/ Georgia State Association of Cooperatives

624 W Oglethorpe Blvd.

Albany, GA 31701

Ph (229) 432-5799

Fax: (229) 439-0894

Mississippi Field Office/Mississippi State Association of Cooperatives

233 E. Hamilton St.

Jackson, MS 39202

Send Mail: PO Box 22786, Jackson, MS, 39225

Ph: (601) 944-0592

Fax: (601) 354 2777



Photo of 2 of the fishing ponds on the property-Donna DeCaille

The RTRC also oversees the Wendy Hill Subdivision in Gainesville, Alabama, a 38-unit apartment complex serving very low-income families.

The RTRC is the hub of operations for the Federation and also the base of operations for the Alabama State Association of Cooperatives (ASAC) outreach and technical assistance staff.RTRC, staff works on projects with USDA – Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service(APHIS), USDA – Rural Development, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), US Endowment for Forestry and Communities, and Democratizing Rural Electric Cooperatives Campaign.


Each program and partner contribute significantly to the success of the RTRC. The RTRC also serves as a meeting place for Federation activities and member groups in the area such as the AlabamaState Association of Cooperatives, Southeast GoatProducers Coop (SoGoCo), and our youth forestry camp.

Rural Training & Research Center

Agro-Forestry Center

575 Federation Rd.

Gainesville, AL 35464

Send Mail: PO Box 95, Epes, AL 35460

Ph (205) 652-9676

Fax: (205) 652-9678

The collective membership of the Federation owns the Rural Training and Research Center (RTRC), located between the towns of Epes and Gainesville in Sumter County, Alabama. Together with the Panola Land Buying Association, we own more than 1,300 acres of farm and forested land, which forms the land base of the RTRC.

  • Local Administrative office

  • A dormitory that holds 70 overnight guests

  • A large multi-purpose building for large pieces of training

  • Agricultural research and demonstration sites

  • Agroforestry center

  • Silvo-pasture goat herd

  • One nature trail

  • Two fishing ponds

US Sen. Doug Jones with Dr. Marcus Bernard at National Coop Month Symposium

RTRC Director, Marcus Bernard Phd.."Doc B"

In partnership with the Fund for Democratic Communities, Democracy at Work Institute, the Climate Justice Alliance and other supporting organizations we hosted CoopEcon
2018 Institute at the RTRC. CoopEcon 2019 is the 6th gathering since 2011 as part of the effort to build networks across the US South to promote and launch sustainable cooperative economies.

RTRC Program Highlights

Pamela Madzima, State Coordinator of Alabama


Based at the Rural Training and Research Center, Pamela Madzima has worked with the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/LAF for 15 years providing technical assistance and support to member-cooperatives of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives and the Alabama State Association of Cooperatives. 


 Madzima’s primary responsibilities have included directing and coordinating outreach, and technical assistance programs to member cooperatives, and to small, limited resource landowners that are interested in forming agricultural/marketing cooperatives; and assisting cooperatives with: organizing and becoming incorporated; developing by-laws that are consistent with cooperative principles; exploring marketing outlets for value-added products; resource development; and facilitating education and training plans to assist cooperative leaders and members to function as a cooperative.


She has served on various committees and community development projects and has served as the director of the Federation/LAF’s Rural Development Americorps VISTA program, which placed 15 volunteers with local cooperatives. She’s currently a member of the Board of Directors and Loan Committees of Shared Capital Cooperative and the Southern Reparations Loan Fund. 

Madzima has a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Master's of Science Degree in Agricultural and Resource Economics. She is originally from Zimbabwe, Southern Africa.

Congratulations Pam!