Missouri Director of Agriculture to Keynote Forum

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Nov. 3, 2008 — Missouri Director of Agriculture Don Steen will keynote “Growing Entrepreneurs,” a forum on current trends in agriculture that impact the region Nov. 18 at Southeast Missouri State University. 

The event, sponsored by the Southeast Innovation Center, is slated for 3 to 7 p.m. in Glenn Auditorium of Dempster Hall and is free and open to the public. A fascinating lineup of presenters will join Steen for the forum. “Growing Entrepreneurs” is part of a weeklong observance of Global Entrepreneurship Week on campus.

Steen will overview recent changes in the agriculture industry and regulations to protect the food supply. Other topics of discussion during the forum include the state of credit and lending to agriculture businesses, why food-based fuel is not materializing in Southeast Missouri and new trends in agricultural marketing. 

A special presentation by husband and wife producers, Micah and Julie Janzow of Janzow Farms, will kick off the event.  They will explain their challenging journey to becoming organic food growers and managing a community-supported small farm in Cape Girardeau County.  A panel discussion is planned as well as a presentation by Dr. Paul Schnare on global food supply trends. 

Campus activities for Global Entrepreneurship Week have been spearheaded by Dr. James Stapleton, director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, located in the Harrison College of Business.  Stapleton’s vision to engage community members and small businesses in the events led him to partner with the Southeast Innovation Center.

“Although the week’s activities mostly focus on academic student entrepreneurship,” said Gina Harper of the Southeast Innovation Center, “Dr. Stapleton gave us the opportunity to bring a ‘home-grown’ entrepreneurial focus to one of the days.”

Harper said that Stapleton and a small team at the Innovation Center identified two global issues the impact everyone — the safety of the nation’s food supply and the credit crisis — and built the afternoon’s events around providing information to the public as well as some solutions for local agriculture-based businesses. 

A limited number of tables will be provided free to small businesses that would like to display their agriculture-related products or information.  Tables must be reserved by Nov. 13  by 5 p.m.

Small growers, farmers and agriculture-business owners will all benefit from this forum and are encouraged to attend.  Light refreshments will be provided.  Please RSVP or obtain additional information by contacting Gina Harper at (573) 651-2940.