The Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) and the Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority (MASBDA) – the department’s independent financing board – offer a variety of grants, loans and tax credits that help farmers and ranchers expand and more efficiently run their operations.
A sampling of these programs includes:
Value-Added Agriculture Grant Program
Farmers wanting to expand their operations and develop, process or market their agricultural goods may apply for a state value-added grant through 5 p.m., Monday, Dec. 28, said David Meyer, MASBDA’s executive director. Recent recipients used the grant to study the feasibility of freshwater shrimp production as well as new uses for raw rice and bio-based building materials. The maximum individual grant is $200,000.
Beginning Farmer Loan Program
This program enables lenders to receive federally tax-exempt interest on loans made to beginning farmers. The tax savings are passed on to recipients by way of lower interest rates, according to the Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority.
Qualifying borrowers may borrow up to $517,700 to buy agricultural land, farm buildings, farm equipment and breeding livestock.
Within this program, a beginning farmer is one who has not owned, either directly or indirectly, more than 30 percent of the median-size farm in the county.
These loans can’t be used to refinance existing debt.
Animal Waste Treatment Loan Program
This loan can finance animal waste treatment systems for independent livestock and poultry producers at below conventional interest rates. Loans may be used to finance all of the cost of an eligible animal waste treatment system (less grant monies from other agencies), such as storage structures, composters, dedicated waste treatment equipment, flush systems and contour buffer strips, among others.
Alternative Loan Program
If you’re good at thinking outside the box, to lean on cliché, you may want to consider applying for an agricultural alternative loan.
An agricultural alternative is doing something different from traditional rural operations, according to the MDA. The department suggests considering opportunities such as horticulture production, aquaculture, tree farming, fee hunting areas, portable greenhouses, irrigation equipment and refrigeration units, among other options.
Family Farm Breeding Livestock Loan Program
The Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority provides Missouri tax credits to Missouri lenders who make breeding livestock loans to small farmers. Participating small farmers must first get approval for a family farm breeding livestock loan from an eligible lender. The small farmer won’t be charged interest for the first year of the qualified loan.
For this program, the MDA defines a small farmer as a legal Missouri resident who has less than $250,000 in gross agricultural product sales per year. The maximum amount of loan for each type of livestock varies from $75,000 for beef cattle and dairy cattle to $30,000 for sheep and goats. The maximum amount of loan for swine is $35,000.
Restrictions are few, but each small farmer can be eligible for only one of these loans per immediate household family and only one type of livestock.
Single-Purpose Animal Facilities Loan Guarantee Program
MDA and the Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority provide a 50 percent first-loss guarantee on collateralized loans up to $250,000 that lenders make to independent livestock producers. These loans can finance acquisition, construction, improvement, rehabilitation and equipment, among other uses, to produce livestock or other animals in a single-purpose animal facility.