West Plains, Willow Springs receiving USDA grant funds
The Trump Administration, along with Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director for Missouri Jeff Case, today announced 20 organizations statewide are being awarded a total of $1,068,984 to create jobs and increase economic opportunities throughout the state.
“When rural, small businesses expand and do well, it leads to a positive impact on the economy of the communities they reside in and serve. USDA Rural Development’s highly competitive Rural Business Development grant program partners with these businesses to provide funding for expansion, training, technical assistance, and other economic development opportunities ensuring Missouri’s rural communities prosper and grow,” said Trump Administration Official State Director Case. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA has been working tirelessly to be a strong partner to rural Missouri in building stronger and healthier communities, because we know when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”
USDA is awarding the grants through the Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) program. Recipients may use the funds to provide technical assistance, training, and job-creation activities to small rural businesses.
Local recipients include:
- Downtown West Plains, Inc. will use a $46,625 grant to expand services and programs for Ozark Small Business Incubator, increasing the number of new business starts and continuing its support of local manufacturers. The incubator will provide classes on how to start a business, mentoring, and leadership training, ultimately increasing the successful startup and development of small businesses.
- Willow Springs Community Foundation will use a $32,000 grant to provide technical assistance to determine the feasibility for opening a diesel mechanic trade school in Willow Springs.
- Avant Gardens will use an $8,000 to purchase a display freezer for this Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm in New Haven, Mo. This freezer will help Avant Gardens overcome some of its storage and display challenges, thus benefitting small farmers and producers and the CSA members.
- The Bootheel Cultural and Performing Arts Center will use a $30,000 grant to purchase equipment including refrigerators, freezers, shelving, and tables used for distribution to assist the Garden Shed regional food pantry and farmers market. The project focuses on both providing food for those in need and an opportunity for local farmers to sell their locally grown produce.
- The city of Bernie will use a $64,733 grant to improve its community park. Planned improvements include the replacement of park benches and other miscellaneous equipment, materials to replace and expand the old walking trail, and materials and equipment to construct a new bandstand in Bernie’s city park. These much-needed enhancements are expected to support economic development in the city.
- The city of Puxico will use a $22,250 grant to purchase materials and hardware to construct two pavilions for its farmers market. The planned 50′ x 100′ pavilions will allow for increased foot traffic, provide covering for inclement weather, and permit operation from early spring through late fall.
- The city of Richland will use a $50,000 grant to install outdoor lighting in its downtown area. This lighting is expected to significantly increase the area businesses’ ability to attract customers in the evening hours.
- Co-Mo Electric Cooperative, Inc. will use a $65,000 grant to conduct a preliminary study identifying potential industrial sites for business development. The cooperative will also develop a state-of-the-art, fully immersive 360-degree video that stimulates the experience of actually visiting the area that will be used to not only show and tell the story of the region, but also highlight the benefits of businesses investing or relocating in and around the cooperative’s service area.
- Fair Play Farmers Market will use a $49,116 grant to purchase pavilion curtains, a generator and electrical service, a port-a-potty, a hand washing station, trash bins, portable water vessels, a sign, tables, chairs, portable cooking tools and equipment, picnic tables, and a portable building to store the new equipment. These items will be used to better equip the market in wind and heavy rain, make it more welcoming and draw the community in, be a learning environment, and increase sanitation.
- Howard Cooper County Regional Port Authority will use a $97,000 grant to make facility improvements and purchase new equipment at the port facilities on the Howard County side of the Missouri River. Thousands of bushels of grain cross Howard Cooper County Regional Port Authority’s scale each fall to be stored in its grain bins; the project is expected to provide greater support for local grain producers, as well as improving Missouri’s river port infrastructure.
- Industrial Opportunities, Inc. will use a $31,450 grant to purchase a forklift, pallet jacks, and scissor lift for this sheltered workshop in Kahoka, Mo. The workshop serves as a recycling center, provides confidential shredding for businesses, and operates a thrift shop and engraving business. In addition, Industrial Opportunities, Inc. contracts with several local companies to perform a variety of packaging, sorting, and other services.
- The Junior College District of East Central MO, commonly known as East Central College, will use a $180,704 grant to make updates to its Health Science simulation lab. The current lab is over 13 years old and uses antiquated, outdated technology including software and hardware that is incompatible and difficult to use in a learning environment. The grant will give the college the ability to purchase five new mannequins, a new AVS system, and a CPR/AED trainer.
- Lettuce Dream, a nonprofit providing job and training opportunities for individuals with disabilities, will use an $18,422 grant to purchase new packaging, labeling, boxes, and marketing materials so it can enter a new retail market in Maryville, Mo.
- Missouri Incutech Foundation will use a $38,677 grant to complete a feasibility study and an associated marketing plan for a new product line for Ozark Shavings, LLC utilizing the company’s waste byproduct for re-use in the oil and gas industry.
- North Central Missouri Business Facilitation will use a $23,000 grant to assist existing and potential entrepreneurs with valuable insight, knowledge, and solutions in starting, expanding, and developing small and emerging businesses.
- Northwest Missouri Enterprise Facilitation will use a $19,973 grant to provide training and technical assistance for business development services for existing and new, emerging small businesses in a six-county region of northwest Missouri.
- Ozark Foothills Development Association, Inc. will use a $75,000 grant to make improvements to its business incubator that will allow the business to maintain reduced rental rates to businesses incubating within the facility, improve customers’ ability to locate businesses, and improve and preserve the appearance and durability of the facility.
- Pemiscot County Special School District will use a $70,359 grant to purchase updated equipment that will allow the district to train students on up-to-date equipment, in turn better preparing students for the local workforce.
- The Community Foundation of Northwest Missouri, Inc. will use a $46,675 grant to provide training and technical assistance for business development services in northwest Missouri.
- The University of Missouri will use a $100,000 grant to build a commodity barn at its Thompson Research Center in Spickard. The university will use the barn in its research identifying ways to increase revenue from beef cattle feedlot operations in the state.
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs 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 areas.