Southeast Department of Agriculture Awarded USDA Rural Business Development Grant

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Feb. 9, 2016 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture today awarded a $40,000 Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) to Southeast Missouri State University.

Southeast will use the funding to assist a new rice technology initiative by purchasing a multi-purpose sprayer and agricultural vehicle.

“This equipment will enhance efficiencies in labor and pesticide applications, replace antiquated equipment, provide more accurate research result, support more advanced research and provide our farms with technology that matches and exceeds our current practices,” said Dr. Gerald McDougall, interim provost.

The initiative will also provide advanced technology for innovative research in precision agriculture, resulting in yield increases with lower production inputs for producers. This project will lead to helping producers grow profitable rice.

The grant also demonstrates the importance of Southeast’s collaboration with the Missouri Rice Research and Merchandising Council as well as the benefits of partnering with other outstanding universities and institutions, said McDougall.

The RBDG program is a grant designed to support targeted technical assistance, training and other activities leading to the development or expansion of small emerging private businesses in rural areas.

Southeast and the Southeast Economic Development Fund in Park Hills, Missouri, were both recognized with awards during the announcement ceremony.

“Rural Development is always looking to assist in the advancement and expansion of organizations and businesses so they can help others,” said Janie Dunning, USDA Rural Development state director. “Southeast Economic Development Fund and Southeast Missouri State University are both contributing great resources to the region by providing financial opportunities to entrepreneurs and new agricultural technology initiatives. We are proud to be a partner in seeing these two projects come to fruition.”

“We would like to thank the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Program for their cooperative spirit and support of the programs at Southeast,” McDougall said.

“The Department of Agriculture at Southeast Missouri State University, along with our partners from the University Missouri Fisher Delta Research Center, will be using this precision application equipment to prepare rice research that improves farm productivity and substantially protects the farming environment,” said Dr. Mike Aide, chair of Southeast’s Department of Agriculture. “On behalf of the University, I would like to thank USDA Rural Development for their continued support of our agricultural initiatives at Southeast.”

For more information about Southeast’s Department of Agriculture, visit http://semo.edu/agriculture/.

For more information about the USDA Missouri Rural Development Program, visit http://www.rd.usda.gov/mo or call (573) 624-5939.