The folks in Sikeston have been running their televisions overtime keeping up with their native sons. Neal Boyd, discovered by his high school music teacher and trained at Southeast Missouri State University, won a million dollars recently on "America's Got Talent" for his operatic ability. At the same time, Sikeston's Blake DeWitt was playing second base for the Los Angeles Dodgers during their 2008 championship games. Further south in Missouri's Bootheel region, singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow built a new swim park in her native Kennett. Why would this corner of Missouri produce so many world-class talents? "It has to do with the work ethic here," says Sikeston Chamber Director, Missy Marshall. "Of all the things we can offer here, that's probably our best asset."
Missouri's Bootheel, named for the shape of the sixcounty region, is renowned for its rich alluvial soil and ample groundwater. It's not surprising that 25 percent of Missouri's agricultural output crop comes out of these six counties. It's also not surprising that much of the state's agricultural research would happen here. The University of Missouri's 1,024-acre Delta Research Center has developed sixteen improved soybean varieties - and today is working on the pharmaceutical potential in tobacco and using non-food crops for biofuel production.
The pieces are in place for success in the Bootheel. Low cost power from two generation plants, 200 miles of Mississippi River access, BNSF and Union Pacific rail service, excellent highway connections to I-55, I-57 and I-155 and a strategic location between the Mid-South and Midwest markets make a compelling business case for a Bootheel location. But, most of all, as we've seen recently, when "America's Got Talent" a lot of it resides here in southeast Missouri.
Southeast Missouri Economic Development Alliance
F.R. "Buz" Sutherland, Executive Director
147 State Highway T
Portageville, MO 63873