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Sustainable South: Arkansas Delta

Arkansas Delta, photo by Emilie Dayan Hill
Arkansas Delta, photo by Emilie Dayan Hill

Over the holidays, the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) pledged a $150,000 investment in the East Arkansas Enterprise Community (EAEC). The money will fund programming for sustainable agriculture in Cross, Lee, Monroe, and St. Francis counties.
Since 1994, the EAEC promotes community, human, and economic development through financial and technical assistance to individuals and communities in rural eastern Arkansas. The EAEC will use the funds from the DRA to build a farm-to-school processing facility and to provide job training for entrepreneurs, supporting small business enterprise development. These projects aim to increase output and success for one hundred participating farmers.
The investment will also support enterprises along the food system chain through

  • Job training, technical assistance, and financial planning;
  • Access to produce processing equipment and facilities;
  • Cooperative development training;
  • Workshops on food processing and product marketing;

Similar programming exists in other states represented by the DRA. Its constituents include Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee. In 2013, this is how the DRA allocated funds:
Equity Factor (divided equally among eight states): 50%
Population Factor (DRA counties/parishes only): 10%
Distressed Population (DRA counties/parishes only): 20%
Distressed County Area (DRA counties/parishes only): 20%

Share of Funding Funding Allocation
Alabama 10.93% $      979,248.46
Arkansas 15.79% $   1,415,326.33
Illinois   7.88% $      706,184.48
Kentucky   9.37% $      839,893.52
Louisiana  18.35% $   1,644,477.82
Mississippi  14.98% $   1,342,557.07
Missouri  11.60% $   1,039,829.76
Tennessee  11.09% $      994,214.55
TOTAL 100.00% $ 8,961,732.00

With this funding, the EAEC and the DRA hope to build on the agricultural strengths of the Arkansas Delta to increase the capacity of local farmers and ensure sustainable success for the agricultural community.

 –Emilie Dayan, SouthernFoodways.org

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