State grant could boost some rural economies

Sep 19, 2012

Several agricultural projects in Missouri are benefiting from a state grant program aimed at boosting the economies in rural areas of the state.

The Missouri Value-Added Grant Program announced this week that it’s granting $370,000 to six agricultural business projects across the state. The program is funded through the Missouri Agriculture and Small Business Development Authority (MASBDA) and gives funding based on creation and development in rural agricultural business.

MASBDA Executive Director Tony Stafford says the program is looking for projects that move products closer to consumers, and is meant to bolster these farmers and businesses.

"The real intent of the Missouri Value-Added Grant Program is to help Missouri farmers add value to their agricultural commodities," Stafford says.

One of the six projects receiving funding is Ozark Mountain Creamery in Mountain Grove, Mo. Creamery operator Teresa Fry says that the motivation to pursue the grant was to increase feasibility and marketing.

"We would like to increase sales in the stores that we’re already in, but we also needed to find out where would be a good place for us to expand to," Fry says. "And so that was kind of what we wanted to do, and we wanted to find out, you know, the feasibility of would be able to sell our cream."

The program gave approximately $28,600 in funding to Ozark Mountain Creamery, dispersing the remainder of the grant money to the additional five projects selected.