August 06, 2013

Rolla Farm Awarded Missouri Value-Added Grant

The Missouri Department of Agriculture announced that Hance Farm of Rolla has been awarded $22,275 in grant funding to assist them in diversifying their operation to include sunflowers. The funding comes from the Missouri Value-Added Grant Program, which provides grants for projects that advance the development of Missouri agricultural products while aiding the economy of a rural community.

"These grants do more than just help expand businesses, they provide Missouri producers with the tools to add value to their agricultural products and the rural communities which support them," said Director of Agriculture Dr. Jon Hagler. "Missouri's small agri-business owners have been invaluable in growing Missouri's agriculture economy and ensuring the continued success of Missouri agriculture."

The Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority (MASBDA) awarded the grant to partially fund a feasibility study to determine the viability of producing sunflowers and processing the oil and meal for food and feed use. Hance Farm's operators plan to use the grant to explore opportunities to add sunflowers to their crop rotation and take advantage of demand related to both oilseed and birdseed products. Sunflowers have a shorter growing season than many other crops and may also help producers manager their workload during harvest season. Sunflower oil can be used for cooking and the resulting meal may be a source of protein for livestock feed.

This is one of 12 value-added grants awarded by MASBDA, for 2013. This year's grants ranged from $17,000 to $198,000, for a total of $808,838 awarded, all with the goal of fostering new enterprises that will aid rural economic development. Applications for the 2013 grants were due to MASBDA in December 2012.

The grants are funded from the sale of tax credits and can be used for business planning purposes, such as feasibility studies and marketing plans. The maximum individual grant is $200,000, with the applicant required to provide a 10 percent cash match toward the eligible expenses. Recipients must also provide quarterly reports to MASBDA throughout their grant period.

For more information on the Missouri Value-Added Grant Program and other MASBDA programs call (573) 751-2129, email or visit the Department of Agriculture's website,