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AG grants: Adding value to farm income; 4-H, FFA community service projects

The Missouri Department of Agriculture announced the Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority is now accepting applications for grants to assist farmers with business planning expenses for projects that develop, process, or market agricultural goods.
Grants are awarded on a competitive basis, and applications will be scored based on their economic development potential for the agriculture industry, credibility and merit, probability of near-term commercialization and practical application of project results, source and level of matching funds and the likelihood of a project’s success.
“As Missouri agriculture continues to grow, we will continue to lead the way in supporting our farmers’ innovations in production and processing technology,” said Acting Director of Agriculture Harry Bozoian. “Grants, like these for value-added agriculture, are important tools for Missouri’s producers and agribusinesses as they work to expand their operations and realize new opportunities.”
Earlier this year, MASBDA awarded more than $800,000 in grants to assist producers and agribusinesses explore ways to add value to their agriculture products.
Past projects have included feasibility studies for sunflower oil production, biomass pellets and bio-based building materials.  Projects funded in previous years have also included business plans and marketing plans for locally produced pork and beef products, canned vegetables, wind energy, and on-farm dairy processing.
The maximum individual grant is $200,000.  Applicants are required to provide a 10 percent cash match toward eligible expenses, which do not include operating expenses, salaries, or capital improvements. These grants are funded by contributions made to MASBDA through the purchase of tax credits.
Applications must be received by MASBDA no later than 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 20, 2013.  Incomplete applications will not be accepted.  For more information on the program and complete guidelines, visit mda.mo.gov or contact MASBDA at mas...@mda.mo.gov or (573) 751-2129.

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4-H and FFA chapters planning community service projects may apply for grant funding through the Missouri Department of Agriculture. Applications for the annual Building Our American Communities Grant Program are available at mda.mo.gov and are being accepted until Dec. 2, 2013.
The Building Our American Communities Grant Program awards grants ranging from $100 to $500 to support youth-driven service projects. Since the 1970s, 4-H clubs and FFA chapters throughout Missouri have submitted proposals for specific projects within their communities for consideration for the grants.
Proposed projects should improve the social and physical environment of rural cities, towns and farm communities and may include upgrades or additions to existing facilities, grounds or buildings used by local organizations. Past Building Our American Communities grant projects have included improvements for local fairgrounds, rural intersections and parks, as well as renovations for damaged and aged public-use structures in rural areas, including those used by area 4-H and FFA groups.
Each year, the Building Our American Communities Grant Program awards up to 12 $500 grants to 4-H clubs and 12 $500 grants to FFA chapters, two in each of the six districts, to support projects that benefit an agricultural community and/or promote community development. In 2013, nine 4-H clubs and eleven FFA chapters representing Andrew, Clinton, Cole, Douglas, Franklin, Howell, Iron, Lawrence, Lincoln, Linn, Morgan, Monroe, Ozark, Ste. Genevieve and Taney counties received grant funding. The grants are funded through Missouri’s Agriculture Development Fund under an agreement with the USDA.
For a Building Our American Communities grant application or more information about this and other grant opportunities available through the Missouri Department of Agriculture, visit the Department online at mda.mo.gov.

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