“It’s not just about farmers and ranchers for the Missouri Department of Agriculture. And, it’s not just about rural communities for USDA Rural Development,” says Missouri Rural Development State Director Janie Dunning. Dunning and three other state directors joined together to introduce rural development programs to the Midwest Association of State Departments of Agriculture (MASDA) in St. Louis recently.

“Farmers and ranchers will not succeed without a vibrant rural community where they can conduct business,” Dunning says. “Rural communities cannot survive without farmers to add to their economic growth.”

Colleen Callahan, Illinois state director, talked about the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) and stressed the Obama Administration’s prioritization of renewable energy as a multi-layered economic benefit to the American economy. Renewable energy investments create jobs, increase capital investments in rural areas and reduce America’s dependence on non-domestic sources of energy.

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