A Phillips County project in which six women are attempting to develop an employee-owned vegetable production cooperative will reap the benefits of a U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development grant to support Winrock International’s Arkansas Rural Enterprise Center. The grant totals $224,984.

 

A Phillips County project in which six women are attempting to develop an employee-owned vegetable production cooperative will reap the benefits of a U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development grant to support Winrock International’s Arkansas Rural Enterprise Center. The grant totals $224,984.
The AREC helps develop cooperatives and small businesses in the mid-South. The center works directly with small, rural businesses to help them become competitive and increase their ability to create and retain jobs in rural Arkansas. The AREC’s functions include technical help, training, market development and business planning.
U.S. Senators Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor made the announcement late Thursday.
“Small businesses are the engine of our economy in Arkansas,” said Lincoln, “and facilities like the AREC are offering assistance to ensure that these businesses can successfully create and retain jobs in rural parts of our state.
“It is critical that small businesses, cooperatives and aspiring entrepreneurs have access to the resources they need to be competitive, contribute to economic development and create jobs in Arkansas,” she added.
“Winrock International is thrilled to work with the United States Department of Agriculture to support cooperative development in Arkansas,” stated Annett Pagan, director of U.S. Programs at Winrock International.
Six women currently working at Delta Yams, a sweet potato drying, and curing and storage facility will operate the Phillips County employee-owned vegetable production cooperative. The crew is aiming to increase the amount of work available to them on a year-round basis.
Since 1992, the AREC has helped develop six cooperatives, provided support services to more than 2,000 clients and cooperative members and has secured funding from other sources to support small business development.
The amount of funding the Phillips County project would receive was not reported.