January 2019
Keep Warm And Read On
Recognizing Region Nine Commissioners
Region Nine would like to thank Drew Campbell, Eric Anderson, Mohamed Ibrahim, Doug Trytten, Tony Berg, and Brian Gramentz for their service on the full Commission! Each commissioner was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation for their service and commitment to Region Nine and the communities in which they served.
L to R: Drew Campbell, Executive Director Nicole Griensewic Mickelson, Chair Steve Rohlfing
L to R: Eric Anderson, Executive Director Nicole Griensewic Mickelson, Chair Steve Rohlfing
L to R: Mohamed Ibrahim, Executive Director Nicole Griensewic Mickelson, Chair Steve Rohlfing
Why Greater Minnesota interests have high hopes for the 2019 legislative session
When groups representing rural Minnesota interests released their wish lists for the 2019 legislative session, some of the items looked familiar: a boost in funding for the Local Government Aid program, proposals to generate housing, more money for broadband expansion.

Yet while the issues might not be new, some of the players at the Capitol are, including Gov.-elect Tim Walz, the former U.S. congressman from Mankato whose campaign theme – “One Minnesota” – heartened some rural leaders who have long felt left behind by the Twin Cities metropolitan region.

“I’m a ‘One Minnesota’ kind of guy, so I’m kind of optimistic,” said Dan Dorman, the executive director of the Greater Minnesota Partnership (GMNP) , a collection of businesses, nonprofits and other groups. Dorman, a former Republican state lawmaker, said he was committed to supporting a gubernatorial candidate from Greater Minnesota – regardless of party. So, in the fall election, he filled in the oval next to the Democrat Walz’s name.

Much of the chatter at the fall convention of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities (CGMC) , held in Alexandria, centered on the possibilities of a Walz administration, said Bradley Peterson, the executive director of the organization, which represents about 90 cities. “Our members are pretty excited that there is going to be a rural governor,” he said. “That opens up, hopefully, some opportunities and brings some fresh perspective to the process here for the next four years.”
Region Nine's 2019 Legislative Priorities
With the 2019 Minnesota state legislative biennium underway, Region Nine has updated its legislative priorities. In recent months, the Region Nine Legislative & Communications Committee hosted issue experts in areas of child care, transportation, and substance abuse prevention in order to more effectively advocate for legislative solutions to the challenges facing the region.
Two bills, one goal: Legislation aims to create long-term solutions to Greater Minnesota's child care shortage
A pair of bills that call on the state to make modest investments to help address the critical child care shortage in Greater Minnesota were introduced yesterday at the Minnesota Legislature.

SF 537 / HF 422 , authored by Sen. Carla Nelson (R-Rochester) and Rep. Jeff Brand (DFL-St. Peter), and SF 538 / HF423 , authored by Sen. Jerry Relph (R-St. Cloud) and Rep. Brand, both create and fund new grant programs with the shared goal of increasing child care capacity while fostering successful and sustainable child care business operations in Greater Minnesota.

“A big thank you to Sen. Nelson, Sen. Relph and Rep. Brand for taking on this complicated issue,” said Nicole Griensewic Mickelson, executive director of the Region Nine Development Commission and president of the Greater Minnesota Partnership (GMNP), an economic development advocacy organization that has been working with legislators to explore ways to address Greater Minnesota’s child care needs.

“Communities and businesses are reeling from the effects of the child care shortage,” Griensewic Mickelson added. “These bills are a promising start to bringing more child care options to Greater Minnesota and helping providers run successful businesses.”

While the child care shortage is a major concern across the entire state, the impact is particularly acute in rural communities. According to a study by the Center for Rural Policy and Development, Greater Minnesota lost more than 15,000 child care spots between 2006-2015—largely due to a significant decline in in-home providers. Child care centers have helped make up for the loss of in-home providers in the metro area and larger population centers, but small and medium-sized rural communities are still struggling to fill that void.
Need a Business Loan? Region Nine Can Help!
LuAnn Vanderwerf
RLF Coordinator
507-389-8878 | luann@rndc.org
Need a business loan? Has a bank denied your request? Region Nine administers a Revolving Loan Fund program to assist existing businesses, as well as new entrepreneurs, in securing financing they are otherwise unable to secure through traditional channels. The primary goal of the program is to create new jobs, or retain existing jobs, in the region. Preference is given to businesses that will add full-time skilled or semi-skilled positions. Region Nine welcomes partnering with other lenders to assist local businesses to succeed and thrive.

Success Stories:
Ag Resiliency Series: Climate Change
Friday, February 1st
11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

South Central College, Room E1109
1920 Lee Blvd, North Mankato, MN
Being a federally-designated economic development district, Region Nine is partnering with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Minnesota State University, Mankato, and South Central College to host informational sessions to support farmers in the region.

Join Erin Meier and Bryan Runck from the University of Minnesota as they discuss climate change, opportunities for new crops, and bioeconomic development in Minnesota. This event is free to attend and open to the public, a light lunch will be provided.
Ag Resiliency Series: Farm Succession
Are you struggling with how to transfer your farm business to the next generation? The University of Minnesota Extension and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities’ Agriculture Centers of Excellence, are pleased to invite you to attend a practical workshop on farm transition and estate planning.

The workshop will cover areas including family communications, farm goal setting, business structures, inheritance and transition, estate and gift taxes, and retirement planning.

The workshop, including lunch, is free with pre-registration. This workshop is co-sponsored by Region Nine Development Commission in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Minnesota State University, Mankato, and South Central College.
Tuesday, February 5th
9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Hahn's Dining & Lounge
206 Main Street N, Winthrop, MN
Agbusiness in Social Media
Friday, February 8th
8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

MSU-M College of Business,
Center for Innovation
& Entrepreneurship
424 N Riverfront Drive, Mankato, MN
We live in the GreenSeam – one of the most fertile areas of the world. The business of food generates millions of dollars and fuels our regional economy and social media has changed the marketing landscape. Learn how local agribusiness leaders are using social media and digital marketing to grow. Hear success stories that will work in other industries and find ways that you can be part of the online conversations in this vital area.

Panelists will include Wanda Patsche, AGvocate and author of MN Farm Living and Kristeena Patsche, Digital Media Manager for the MN Soybean Growers Association.

This event is FREE and open to the public. 
Ag Resiliency Series: The Resilient Option
Being a federally-designated economic development district, Region Nine is partnering with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Minnesota State University, Mankato, and South Central College to host informational sessions to support farmers in the region.

Amit Sood, M.D., is a world-leading expert in resilience and stress management and the creator of the Mayo Clinic Resilient Mind program. Dr. Sood has authored multiple books, including “The Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-Free Living” and “The Mayo Clinic Handbook for Happiness.” Dr. Sood is internationally recognized for his work on resilience, well-being, burnout, happiness, and mindfulness. Join Dr. Sood as he shares how to choose the resilient option in your life. Refreshments will be provided.
Friday, February 15
11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

South Central College
1920 Lee Blvd, North Mankato, MN
$$ Grant Opportunities $$
Environmental Justice Small Grants Program

The Environmental Justice Small Grants (EJSG) Program provides funding directly to community-based organizations for projects that help residents of underserved communities understand and address local environmental and public health issues .

In general, the EJSG program awards grants that support community-driven projects designed to engage, educate, and empower communities to better understand local environmental and public health issues and develop strategies for addressing those issues, building consensus in the community, and setting community priorities.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ( EPA) anticipates awarding approximately five grants per EPA region in amounts of up to $30,000 per award.

Deadline: February 19, 2019
New Institute of Museum and Library Services Grant Program Supports Small and Rural Libraries 

The Institute of Museum and Library Services has launched a new special initiative, Accelerating Promising Practices for Small Libraries (APP).

This funding opportunity is designed to strengthen the ability of small and rural libraries, archives, and related organizations to serve their communities. Award sizes range from $10,000 to $50,000.

Deadline: February 25 , 2019
Calendar of Events