October 4, 2017 – The Federal Economic Development Administration has awarded Region Nine Development Commission funding to develop and implement the first ever South Central Minnesota Agriculture Resilience Plan.
The project will build on completed regional planning initiatives previous done by Region Nine and work towards creating a cohesive strategy for resilient agriculturally based communities across the region. This will lead to the capitalization on new opportunities and creation of jobs to diversify and strengthen the local economy.
“Agriculture is undoubtedly a major player in economic development in our region,” stated Nicole Griensewic Mickelson, executive director of Region Nine. “This project will provide insight into how the region can become more sustainable. Resiliency is key in ensuring the nine counties of south central Minnesota continue to thrive.”
The funding award was matched by local partners to complete the planning project. Local partners who provided matching funds or in-kind match include Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Minnesota State University, Mankato and the Southern Minnesota Center of Agriculture/South Central College.
“South Central College Farm Business Management Education, along with our Southern MN Center of Agriculture, are committed to improving the economic vitality in our rural communities and increasing positively the farm resilience across the region,” shared Brad Schloesser, executive director Southern Minnesota Center of Agriculture and Dean of Agriculture. “This is great support for strong programs that are needed now at an ever demanding rate.”
“Food and agriculture are the backbone of Minnesota’s economy,” said Matthew Wohlman, Deputy Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. “We’re pleased to partner with Region Nine and others to ensure that we strengthen our rural economy, add more value to our farm products, and create good paying jobs.”
“We are appreciative and proud to be able to bring this innovative project to the region with the support of our partners,” expressed Griensewic Mickelson. The project will begin in the winter of 2017 and will conclude in late 2018.