DELTA CONFERENCE FEATURES ANNOUNCEMENTS FOR REGION
DUMAS, ARKANSAS, NOVEMBER 9, 1999 — Several dignitaries showed up to make announcements on help for the Delta Region at the Delta Opportunity Day Conference held Friday. Over 150 people attended the conference, which also featured presentations by entrepreneurs who have successfully established new and expanding businesses in the Delta.In addition to a breakfast address by Congressman Jay Dickey (R-AR), officials were on hand to make presentations regarding several new programs for the region. Dr. John Ahlen, President of the Arkansas Science and Technology Authority, announced a Department of Commerce Technology and Economic Development Grant for the Delta areas of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas. He announced that the three communities of Helena, Dumas and Monticello have already been selected for the grant. The new program is designed to work with these communities to build an economic development program involving technology. There will also be a Regional Delta Technology Summit funded with the grant.
Lieutenant Governor Winthrop Rockefellor, who spoke at the noon luncheon, presented Dumas officials a grant for over $200,000, to be used to expand ARKAT Feeds, a local catfish feed processing plant that was also the focus of one of the tours as a successful ag-business in the region.
Finally, Tiffany Guynes, with the Federal Reserve Board, announced the Board’s Delta Community Program, which is designed to link local banks with community development organizations in the region. The Board is responsible for the enforcement of the Community Reinvestment Act in the Delta, and this new program will work with both lenders and community organizations to provide more financing for efforts in low and medium income neighborhoods and cities.
“We are certainly excited about the new opportunities provided by these programs,” said Dr. James Worstell, organizer of the Delta Opportunity Day. “We feel these programs dovetail nicely with the other success stories and expansion projects we highlighted here today.”
The Delta Opportunity Day featured speakers on topics that included the successful agricultural alternatives including hybrid striped bass, shrimp, sweet potatoes, aromatic rice, ethanol from aflatoxin-infected corn and identity-preserved grain.
Representatives of two industries seeking to expand in the Delta were also present. These industries produce healthy home insulation from natural fibers and retrofit cotton gins for recycling.
For more information, please contact Jim Worstell or Kevin Smith at 870-673-2132.