USDA invests more than $1 million to support rural Missouri businesses

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U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Missouri Acting State Director D Clark Thomas announced 19 organizations statewide are being awarded a total of $1,006,698 to create jobs and increase economic opportunities throughout the state.

“USDA Rural Development has worked tirelessly to support rural Missouri businesses throughout the pandemic,” said Thomas. “The Rural Business Development Grants announced today will create or save more than 700 jobs in rural Missouri. We look forward to continuing to assist more rural businesses recover and grow this fiscal year.”

USDA is awarding the grants through the Rural Business Development Grant program. Recipients may use the funds to provide technical assistance, training, and job-creation activities to small rural businesses. In Missouri:

  • Mercer County Area Development Corporation will use a $61,100 grant to create and execute a small business service program with the intentional purpose of entrepreneurial and small business development. It was also awarded a $13,600 grant to complete a feasibility study for a grocery store. The study will encompass marketplace access for fresh produce, baked goods, and fresh meats in Mercer County.
  • The city of Scott City will use a $30,900 grant to erect a digital display sign that will promote Scott City’s small business and community events. The sign will be located in a focal point of the city and will display information regarding business gatherings, events, and the farmers market.
  • Lafayette County Enterprises, Inc., will use a $26,889 grant to purchase and install a recycling baler and a mover. The organization operates a recycling program for cardboard, paper, plastic, glass, and cans serving Lafayette County and the surrounding area. The purchase will allow the organization to speed up its operation and process more recycling materials on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis.
  • Kaysinger Basin Regional Planning Commission (KBRPC) will use a $17,762 grant to re-brand its website to reach businesses around the communities it serves. The rebranding campaign will more effectively convey KBRPC’s message to the seven counties it serves and the value-added services it provides for economic development within the west-central region of Missouri.
  • Green Hills Rural Development Inc. will use a $39,000 grant to make improvements to its building. This project will help support activities related to workforce development, economic development, transportation planning, community development planning, hazard mitigation activities, and solid waste management.
  • Community Foundation of Northwest Missouri Inc. will use a $53,863 grant to assist with technical assistance and program delivery throughout the northwest region. The funding will assist the Maximize NWMO team with the expenses associated with the last steps toward its pilot program’s envisioned end goal: to have developed and tested a rural-based system of collaborACTION that will serve as a continuous guide and source of support for leaders. The long-term outcome of Maximize NWMO’s work will be a stabilized and growing rural population and a more collaborative and prosperous traded regional position in the global marketplace.
  • Community College District of Central SW MO will use an $88,810 grant to assist Ozark Technical College to expand its line worker technician program to its Christian County campus. Funds will be used to purchase equipment for this new program and will allow more students to enroll in this fast-growing line of work.
  • Lettuce Dream will use a $9,684 grant to assist in purchasing LED lighting for its greenhouse to increase basil production capacity. Lettuce Dream is a hydroponic farm and provides career education and grows community inclusion opportunities for people with disabilities. It also provides hydroponic leafy greens year-round to local businesses such as grocery stores, restaurants, and food services.
  • Southeast Economic Development Fund will use a $99,900 grant to expand its Rural Business Support Center. The expansion will include increasing lending capabilities and small business learning, coaching, and training. Constituents in the eight-county service area will be provided access to lending, education, training, and mentoring for entrepreneurs and small businesses.
  • Northwest Missouri Enterprise Facilitation will use a $16,900 grant to assist entrepreneurs who have been impacted by COVID-19 restrictions and who are starting new businesses in the wake of the pandemic. Additionally, the organization will continue to offer one on one training for entrepreneurs and potential small businesses, along with free and confidential coaching on best business practices to local rural entrepreneurs.
  • Junior College District of East Central will use a $99,900 grant to assist the college to purchase a water jet cutter for its manufacturing, precision machining, industrial engineering technology, and welding programs. The machine will provide additional skills and experience to students in the precision machining, welding, and industrial engineering programs and will properly prepare the graduates to enter the workforce and be job-ready to enter the manufacturing industry.
  • Callaway County Sewer District will use a $99,999 grant to provide operations and maintenance services for locations within Callaway County, Missouri that lack the ability to meet state and federal water quality standards. The area assisted includes the Route J corridor south to Millersburg and areas around Cedar Creek, Missouri. The project will allow the Millersburg area to create a business park and bring the area up to its full potential for businesses.
  • Maryville Downtown Improvement Organization, Inc. will use a $45,000 grant to identify economic development opportunities that exist within the downtown district. The organization will work in conjunction with the city of Maryville and Nodaway County Economic Development to coordinate recruitment activities and identify additional opportunities available to foster entrepreneurial growth. This project will also assist in the promotion of the area in its entirety. It will assist future and current small businesses in the downtown district take full advantage of the resources available within the community to establish and grow their businesses. A primary goal of this project is to continuously identify and support emerging businesses through startups in the downtown district.
  • Poplar Bluff Historic Depot Restoration will use a $60,000 grant to restore Poplar Bluff Historic Train Depot. The Train Depot renovation will include storefronts for small businesses and should be an asset to the downtown Poplar Bluff area. The renovation is not only expected to increase visitors and traffic flow to the downtown area’s existing shops and restaurants but also encourage the growth of new businesses in the area.
  • Downtown Poplar Bluff, Inc. will use a $20,000 grant to purchase items for its farmers market and assist with the salary for a marketing manager. The funds will be used to purchase tables for all vendors, marketing materials, picnic tables with umbrellas, canopies, and to assist with the marketing manager’s salary. These items are to be purchased to give local farmers and growers every opportunity to succeed and move their produce.
  • Downtown West Plains, Inc. will use a $32,693 grant to assist Ozark Small Business Incubator (OzSBI) repair the outdated security access system to its building, redevelop its website, and create a video about its programs. The combination of these upgrades will support small businesses located in its facility and across its service area, increasing the use of the technical assistance OzSBI provides to emerging and developing small businesses, which results in new job creation.
  • Village of Caledonia will use a $42,972 grant to purchase and install outdoor lighting for its downtown business district. The downtown lighting of Caledonia is very poor quality and businesses can’t operate after dark. Adding lighting to the business district will allow businesses to remain open later, visitors to enjoy the culture of the historic area, and allow events to extend into the evening. The increased business hours will be invaluable when promoting patronage to local businesses.
  • Bootheel Cultural & Performing Arts Center will use a $54,000 grant to provide education and supplies for participants to start at home gardens, provide location and resources for rural entrepreneurs to learn successful agriculture skills and sell their goods, and establish a seasonal outdoor covered area for a farmers market.
  • Missouri Rural Enterprise & Innovation Center (MREIC) will use a $92,726 grant to assist with creating a revolving loan fund for 16 Northeast Missouri counties. The loan fund will allow MREIC to provide critical financing to existing and new emerging small businesses across northeast Missouri.

Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs, and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety, and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, Tribal, and high-poverty areas.

Contact USDA Rural Development

Information on programs available through USDA Rural Development is available by visiting this link or by calling (573) 876-0976, or by emailing [email protected].

USDA Rural Development has 25 offices across the state to serve the 2.2 million residents living in rural Missouri. Office locations include a state office in Columbia, along with local offices in Butler, Charleston, Chillicothe, Clinton, Dexter, Eldon, Farmington, Higginsville, Houston, Kennett, Kirksville, Maryville, Mexico, Moberly, Neosho, New London, Poplar Bluff, Richmond, Rolla, Sedalia, Springfield, St. Joseph, Troy, and West Plains.