SELMER, Tenn., Oct 25, 2011 -- Small to moderate-scale agricultural production is an important supplement to the income of many McNairy County families. The return on investment for larger farms has remained one of the few bright spots during the economic downturn.
USDA Rural Development (RD) State Director Bobby Goode today joined Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) Commissioner Julius Johnson and local leaders at an open house at the McNairy County Agricultural Learning Center. The new education and training facilities were made possible with funding from a TDA Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Grant for construction and a Rural Development grant for equipment.
The facilities are situated to serve McNairy County High School and the County Fair Grounds with classrooms, laboratories, stalls for livestock handling, and an arena. The facilities are designed to increase educational opportunities as well as business and community development. McNairy County provided the land and the Board of Education manage the facilities.
"Farmers and other agriculture-related businesses create jobs that are based on our agricultural assets and heritage," said Goode. "Investment of time and money from all the partners in this facility provide tools for the next generation to build a healthy, diversified local economy."
Others participating in the event included McNairy County Mayor Wilbur Gene Ashe, Selmer Mayor David Robinson, TDA Deputy Commissioner Jai Templeton, TDA Assistant Commissioner for Policy and Regulation Carol McDonald, TDA Public Affairs Director Tom Womack, Career and Technical Education Director for McNairy County Ronnie Teague, Director of Schools Charlie Miskelly, RD Area Director Arlisa Armstrong and Area Specialist Joel Howard.
TDA's Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program supports agricultural education activities and encourages better livestock management practices. TAEP was established in 2005 to support agricultural development activities aimed at increasing farm income in the state.
Rural Development's rural business grant programs provide assistance to local governments and non-profit organizations that assist small businesses, develop local business infrastructure, provide job training, conduct feasibility studies or provide technical assistance to businesses and community leaders.
USDA Rural Development invests in jobs, infrastructure, homeownership and affordable rental housing in rural communities. During the last two years the agency assisted more than 1.5 million Tennessee families and businesses, investing more than $1.3 billion through affordable loans, loan guarantees and grants.
For more information on Rural Development programs available in McNairy County contact the Rural Development Area Office in Jackson at 731-668-2091, toll free at 1-800-342-3149 ext. 1495 or visit us online at ㋰§Ⓦ〣" www.rurdev.usda.gov/tn.
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