The Missouri Department of Agriculture announced the Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority (MASBDA) is now accepting applications for grants to assist farmers with business planning expenses for projects that develop, process or market agricultural goods.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture announced the Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority (MASBDA) 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 near-term success.

“Developing methods of adding value to agriculture is imperative to our industry’s continued growth,” Director of Agriculture Richard Fordyce said. “By offering value-added agriculture grants, the Department continues to play a part in encouraging innovative agriculture practices.”

In early 2015, MASBDA awarded more than $168,000 in grants to help producers and agribusinesses explore ways to add value to their agriculture products. The four grants were awarded to: Madison County Wood Products, Inc., Fredericktown, for a feasibility study to determine the viability of utilizing wood chips and dust for a Missouri made biofuel or bedding product rather than as an input for an out-of-state paper mill; Heartland Harvest Naturals, LLC, Blue Springs, to fund a marketing study for a commercial scale liquid fertilizer produced from Asian Carp; AgBotanica, LLC, Columbia, for a feasibility study, market study and business plan for a fescue toxicosis tolerance testing service for cattle; and Boeckmann Family Farm, LLC, Loose Creek, to fund a feasibility study to determine the long-term profitability of marketing premium value-added pork products.

Past projects have included feasibility studies for freshwater shrimp production, new uses for raw rice and bio-based building materials. Projects funded in previous years have also included business plans and marketing plans for specialty meat processing, tree nuts and high-value dairy products.

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. Monday, Dec. 28. Incomplete applications will not be accepted. For more information on the program and complete guidelines, visit agriculture.mo.gov or contact MASBDA at masbda@mda.mo.gov or (573)751-2129.