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Nov. 3, 2015
Janie Dunning, the Missouri director for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development, visited Northwest Missouri State University today to discuss future agricultural sciences programing with University leaders and to announce its receipt of a Rural Business Development Grant worth $39,735.
The grant award will support research led by Dr. Nigel Hoilett, assistant professor of agricultural sciences, in partnership with Hampton Alternative Energy of Triplett, Mo.
Hampton uses Missouri’s first beef cattle anaerobic digester to produce renewable energy. The grant will allow Hoilett and his team to test a byproduct of the anaerobic digester as a liquid organic fertilizer for the field turf and produce industries. The grant will assess both the effectiveness and the marketability of the product.
“Partnership is something we value,” Dunning said. “By Northwest Missouri State University working with Hampton Alternative Energy Products, they are creating more opportunities for the advancement of agricultural resources. Their renewable organic fertilizer will be a valuable asset to farmers and producers by providing a more eco-friendly way to operate. Rural Development is pleased to partner with these organizations that both recognize the positive impact renewable organic products can have on the environment and the economy.”
Hoilett said the project is an important opportunity to partner with another organization in an effort to advance agriculture practices while providing Northwest students with profession-based experiences.
“Part of our mission as a University and in agriculture is to not only educate students, but provide community service,” Hoilett said. “This is going to help us in a big way in terms of exposing students in my class, in the agriculture department and through our partnership with the marketing department to real-world situations. It’s good to show that the University wants to help the community, and this grant gives us the opportunity to do that.”
In conjunction with her announcement of the Rural Development grant, Dunning took time Tuesday morning with Northwest leaders to discuss the University’s School of Agricultural Sciences, its growth and vision.
The School of Agricultural Sciences represents more than 10 percent of Northwest’s undergraduate population enrolled in an agriculture major. With facilities such as the Horticulture Complex, the R.T. Wright Farm and a planned Agricultural Learning Center, the School provides students with hands-on, profession-based experiences that lead to more than 95 percent of bachelor’s degree earners finding employment or continuing their education within six months of graduation.
“From an ag perspective, Northwest Missouri State University is moving and shaking,” Northwest President Dr. John Jasinski said. “We have long-term strength in terms of the history of this institution with ag and with education.”
Dunning commended Northwest’s leaders on their vision to build and strengthen partnerships that help fuel community and economic development.
“When we work with a university like Northwest, it’s kind of overwhelming to sit at a table and see the vision, and hear the difference they can make,” Dunning said. “What Northwest has done … to add economic development, jobs and prosperity to the rural communities around Maryville, it’s very rewarding for us to be around the table.”
The Rural Development Grant program is designed to support targeted technical assistance, training and other activities leading to the development or expansion of small emerging private businesses in rural areas. USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has an active portfolio of more than $211 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/mo.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468