COLUMBIA, Mo. – USDA Rural Development and University of Missouri Extension announced today that Green Hills Heritage Highway and Southeast Missouri (SEMO) were selected as Stronger Economies Together (SET) regions.

These two regions will benefit from a focused initiative to explore regional economic advantages and to formulate a regional economic blueprint that builds on the current and emerging economic strengths of that region. 

Leaders in Green Hills, a region composed of Daviess, Grundy and Sullivan counties, plan to use the SET program to identify, inventory and brand art, history and cultural offerings along the Heritage Highway. Their goal is to help businesses and communities along the route capitalize on the emerging economy and opportunities expected with the completion of the Sullivan County Lake project.

SEMO, composed of St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Madison and Iron counties, sees SET as an opportunity to take the region’s economic development efforts to the next level. The outcome expected is to develop a stronger regional mindset, to increase regional participation, to more effectively use the region’s resources and to create an achievable vision for the region’s economy.

Faculty with MU Extension and USDA Rural Development will play an important role in guiding the Missouri SET recipients and will serve on the State Resource Team (SRT) to provide expertise, leadership and facilitation.

The SET program provides step-by-step coaching on creating and implementing a practical and viable regional economic development plan, technical assistance, and in-depth data tailored to the region that describes current and emerging clusters, comparative economic advantages, and detailed demographic and socio-economic information.

SET helps rural communities and counties work together to create and implement an economic development blueprint for their multicounty region that builds on current and emerging comparative economic advantages of that region.

For more information on the SET initiative in Missouri, contact Sharon Gulick, director of MU Extension’s Community Economic and Entrepreneurial Development (ExCEED) program, at (573) 884-0669 or [email protected].

For information about SET nationwide, visit

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