Rural Development Innovation Center

The Rural Development Innovation Center is hard-wired into USDA’s customer-driven approach in helping communities achieve prosperity across rural America. The Center applies cutting-edge techniques to provide innovative products and services to its rural customers.

The Center works to improve prosperity for rural communities through its three divisions: Strategic Engagement, Data Analytics and Regulations Management. Visit to learn more about innovative resources the Center has created to help rural customers thrive.

Data Analytics Division

The division analyzes and evaluates program performance to support strategic investment of RD programs.

Tools and Resources:


Strategic Engagement Division

The division builds and maintains multi-sector partnerships, promotes cross-agency collaborations, and identifies best practices in economic development. The team collaborates with the Data Analytics and Regulations Management Divisions to improve program delivery and equip Rural Development staff with the economic development tools necessary to drive prosperity in rural communities.


Regulations Management Division

The division supports program areas in the development and implementation of regulations, directives, and forms to manage agency policies and procedures.


  Meet the Chief Innovation Officer

  Jacqueline Ponti-Lazaruk


Chief Innovation Officer

Ms. Ponti-Lazaruk leads Rural Development’s Innovation Center and oversees regulations development, data analytics, program evaluation and strategic engagement across rural development. She has served in several roles during her 15 years at Rural Development, included leading both the Water and Telecom programs, and serving as the agency’s Chief Risk Officer.   Over her 30 year career in public service she has been a strong advocate for rural and underserved areas.  As RD’s Innovation Officer, she and her team work to enhance program delivery and enable more strategic, data-driven policies, processes and outreach.  


For more information, visit

Innovation Center Mailbox: