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Ag Matters: MASBDA helps next-generation farmers get off on the right financial footing.

Chris Chinn

April 27, 2021

4 Min Read
combine harvesting corn into grain cart pulled by tractor
ADDING EQUIPMENT: The Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority provides tax-exempt financing through local banks for beginning farmers to buy things such as equipment, land and livestock.Mindy Ward

Like most Missouri farmers, I’m incredibly proud of the farm that my husband and I have built up alongside his family’s farm. I know that our farm is an important part of feeding the growing population and my local community. My husband and I hope our farm is around for many more generations.

I love our farm deeply, but the farm I see today is not the same farm that has always been there. It has taken decades to build what we have now. An essential part of developing, modernizing and expanding our farm was the help from the Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority.

This financial arm of the Missouri Department of Agriculture helps make possible the visions that farmers and agriculturalists have.

Head start on farm financials

When we first started out on our own almost 25 years ago, Kevin and I secured a Beginning Farmer loan from our local bank using an "Aggie Bond" issued by MASBDA. With MASBDA’s guidance, we also paired that with Missouri’s Linked Deposit Program for a low-interest loan.

MASBDA helps make funds available for producers, agribusinesses and small businesses at competitive interest rates. MASBDA administers loans, loan guarantees, tax credits and grant programs.

One of MASBDA’s most popular and impactful programs is the Beginning Farmer Loan Program. MASBDA helps administer this Aggie Bond program for the state of Missouri. This program provides tax-exempt financing through local banks for beginning farmers to buy things such as land, livestock and equipment.

Since the program’s inception, MASBDA has partnered with local lenders to offer low-interest loans to almost 400 beginning farmers in 68 counties in the state, facilitating more than $76 million in private investments.

An important aspect to securing loans is having a down payment. The Down Payment Loan Program can be used by Missouri producers and agribusinesses to secure a loan more readily from a participating lender, by providing the full down payment or supplementing the down payment amount.

The exciting part of this program is that it’s able to be used in conjunction with other MASBDA programs, such as the Beginning Farmer loan. This loan provides up to $200,000 for Missouri farmers to make purchases for their farms, including land, machinery, livestock, buildings and more.

Funds for ag businesses

MASBDA also provides additional support and programs for agribusinesses. The Agribusiness Revolving Loan offers financing to Missouri agribusiness, with funding provided in part by the USDA Rural Development’s Intermediary Relending program.

This loan helps agribusinesses such as value-added businesses, emerging agricultural technology companies, and marketers or retailers of agricultural products. At the core of it, MASBDA helps these businesses who help farmers, ranchers and their rural communities.

MASBDA doesn’t just provide funds for farmers and ranchers, but also advice and input that helps farmers and small businesses determine the best path forward. MASBDA can help producers at nearly every stage of the food and agriculture processing system — such as ethanol production or forest product manufacturing. The Value-Added Agriculture Grant helps fund planning activities by producers for projects that add value to agriculture products.

Invest in small towns

What I love about MASBDA is that every day it is doing work that helps farmers and ranchers succeed. When farmers and ranchers succeed, it enhances our local communities. During the COVID-19 pandemic, when food processing and distributing became a huge challenge, we saw how important it is to invest in local communities.

The Meat Processing Facility Investment Tax Credit Program has invested in local communities’ food supplies. This tax credit program began three-and-a-half years ago and has grown substantially every year. This program provides a state tax credit to meat processing facilities who have invested in new construction or infrastructure improvements in their facilities. The pandemic highlighted how important it is for families to have access to wholesome meat products in their own communities.

One of the factors the MASBDA board looks at in evaluating a meat processing tax credit application is job creation and rural development. Since the program began, it has assisted in creating 293 full-time jobs, 85 part-time jobs, 73 construction jobs and has supported more than $22 million in private investment by meat processing facilities across the state.

The work that MASBDA does for rural Missouri is truly invaluable. MASBDA works every day to adapt to the changing climate of agriculture and focus its programs on the needs of today’s small producers and agribusinesses in Missouri.

Our farm, like countless farms and communities across the state, has forever been affected by the resources that MASBDA provides. To learn more, visit MASBDA.com.

Chinn is the director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture and a hog producer from Clarence, Mo.

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