CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Dec. 18, 2013 – USDA Rural Development State Director Janie Dunning today announced two awards for organizations in Southeast Missouri, Southeast Missouri State University and the Missouri Innovation Corporation. Southeast Missouri State University received a Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) of $100,000 and the Missouri Innovation Corporation received an Intermediary Relending Program (IRP) loan of $1,000,000.
The funds awarded to Southeast Missouri State University will be used to construct a greenhouse, to be located in Malden, for rice breeding research. Missouri Innovation Corporation’s Rural Development award will be used to establish a revolving loan fund. These loan funds will be made available to small businesses in Southeast Missouri and are expected to result in the creation of 200 jobs. “USDA Rural Development is excited about the significant benefits both of these projects can provide to the residents and comunities of Southeast Missouri. Through new rice breeding techniques, producers may experience improved quality and larger yields during harvest. These rice production advancements could lead to an improved quality of life through increased agricultural revenue,” Dunning said. “The Missouri Innovation Corporation’s relending project will infuse much needed cash into worthwhile projects which will lead to job creation. Small businesses are the foundations for local economic development. Supporting these businesses with start-up or expansion dollars is critical to sustaining rural communities. Rural Development has been involved with these organizations in other successful projects. We look forward to the continued growth these partnerships can generate in rural Missouri.” Kenneth W. Dobbins, president of Southeast Missouri State University, said, “Our long-standing relationship with USDA Rural Development has paved the way for so many collaborative efforts here in this area. I would like to sincerely thank USDA Rural Development and express Southeast Missouri State University’s deep appreciation for their ongoing commitment to improve this region and the lives of citizens here in southeast Missouri.” Brian Tapp, director of outreach with the Southeast Missouri State University Institute for Regional Innovation and Entrepreneurship, said the establishment of a revolving loan fund is an “investment by USDA Rural Development that complements the Missouri Innovation Corporation’s focus on developing entrepreneurial ecosystems in southeast Missouri by investing in new and emerging microenterprises.” Dr. Mike Aide, chair of Southeast’s Department of Agriculture, said the award to construct a greenhouse research and laboratory space for producing public domain rice varieties in southeast Missouri is a tremendous investment that will enhance regional and global cooperation among rice breeders in Missouri and other states. “Southeast Missouri State University and the Missouri Rice Research and Merchandising Council are honored to develop the rice breeding greenhouse to promote the creation of new high yielding rice varieties to improve farm profitability across our nation.” Anyone seeking more information about Rural Development’s RBEG Program, IRP Program or any other USDA Rural Development program can visit the Missouri Rural Development homepage at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/mo. The Missouri Rural Development Business Program Director can be contacted at (573) 876-9321. This use of USDA Rural Development funding is another reminder of the importance of USDA programs for rural America. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack stresses that a comprehensive new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill would further expand the rural economy. He said that’s just one reason why Congress must get a comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill done as soon as possible.
President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values.