Southeast Presents Outstanding Agriculturalist Award to Greg Branum


Photo of Greg Branum

Greg Branum is a Southeast alumnus and the the Missouri state director for USDA Rural Development. He is married and has two daughters, who have also graduated from Southeast.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Feb. 6, 2006 — Southeast Missouri State University recently honored Greg Branum with the Outstanding Agriculturalist of the Year Award.

 “The College is proud to have an alumnus like Greg Branum,” said Dr. Wesley Mueller, chair of the Department of Agriculture at Southeast. “Greg has used his education and personal talents to help a large number of individuals, families, businesses and communities while working in the Congressional offices of Jo Ann Emerson and the late Bill Emerson and now with his federal position as state director of USDA Rural Development.”

“I am very humbled by this honor,” Branum said. “I know there are many outstanding folks in southeast Missouri who are deserving of this award. I have been fortunate to be associated with some great people over the years. I have always been dedicated to help people and will continue that commitment in the future. Many SEMO staff greatly influenced my life in a positive direction. Included are Bill Meyer, Harry Pry, Charlie Korns and Bill Ellis. I appreciate their help throughout college and yet today with the lessons of life they shared with me.”

Branum graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture.  He is a fourth generation Missourian born and raised in southeast Missouri and was active in farming in Scott and Stoddard Counties during his high school and college years and continued after college.

In 1976, he married Jeanie Finley of East Prairie, Mo. They have two daughters, Alisa and Kristin.  They are both Southeast graduates.

During the past 25 years, Branum has dedicated his life to helping others. In 1981, he began a career as a Congressional aide for U.S. Rep. Bill Emerson. Following Emerson’s death in 1996, he continued his work in the office of U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson. His tenure with “Team Emerson” lasted 20 years. 

On March 18, 2001, President George W. Bush appointed Branum to be the Missouri state director for USDA Rural Development.  He continues in that position today.

Through his leadership, the agency provided $453 million dollars in financial assistance last year in Missouri. The assistance was through a variety of loan and grant programs to thousands of individuals, families, businesses and communities to provide quality housing, good jobs, clean drinking water plus reliable modern essential community facilities and services.