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Serving: MO
A cattle rancher overlooking a herd of red angus cattle on the pasture Mindy Ward
HELP FOR FARMERS: Family farms or corporations — whether livestock, poultry or crops — can apply for grant funds. The initial amount is $50,000 per operation.

Grant program provides funds for small, family-owned farms

A Small Business Development grant can help farmers who were affected by COVID-19.

The Missouri Department of Economic Development began accepting applications for a Small Business Grant Program that set aside $7.5 million for family-owned farms and family farm corporations affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

“We know that every segment of agriculture has felt the tremendous impact of COVID-19 and will for many years,” Chris Chinn, Missouri Department of Agriculture director, said in a press release. “We have continuously worked with Gov. [Mike] Parson and my colleagues across state government, including DED and the General Assembly, to provide support for the unmet needs of Missouri’s family-owned farms and ranches.”

Grant funds are available to people who are active in the production of agricultural crops, livestock or livestock products, poultry or poultry products, dairy products, or horticulture products. The $7.5 million is a portion of the $30 million allocated to the program for not only farms, but also small businesses across the state.

It was designed to provide relief for reimbursement of costs of business interruption caused by required closures because of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Here's what you need to know about the grant:

Eligibility. It includes family farms and family farm corporations. The family-owned farm must employ fewer than 50 full-time employees, including the owner(s). Full-time employees must work 35 or more hours per week.

Definitions. According to the grant parameters, a “family farm” is an unincorporated farming unit owned or leased by one or more people residing on the farm or actively engaging in farming.

The “family farm corporation” is described as an entity incorporated for the purpose of farming and the ownership of agricultural land where at least half of the voting stock is held by and at least half of the stockholders are members of a family related to each other.

This includes spouses or a son- or daughter-in-law. At least one stockholder must reside on or be active in the farming operation. For more on what constitutes a farm corporation for this small grant, visit the Missouri Department of Economic Development website.

Grant amount. Funds initially are limited to $50,000. Farmers applying must incur or have incurred costs because of COVID-19 between March 1, 2020, and Nov. 15, 2020.

Funding use. Grant money can be used to cover facility redesign and labor, air filtration systems, e-commerce website design, worker salaries during closure or reduced hours, and necessary costs to make the business more resilient as a result of COVID-19, among others.

Deadlines. To request an application for a family-owned farm, email Grant applications are open now through Aug. 31.

The Missouri Department of Economic Development contributed content to this article.

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