Jefferson City eligible for state urban agriculture grants

Jefferson City is one of nine parts of the state eligible for urban agriculture grant funding.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture on Monday announced it was opening applications for its $100,000 Urban Agriculture Matching Grant program. The program will award grants of up to $20,000 to fund select expenses associated with urban agriculture.

The state is limiting grant funding to projects located in urban areas, as defined by the Missouri Census Data Center. In addition to Jefferson City, projects in St. Louis, Kansas City, Columbia, Cape Girardeau, Joplin, Lee’s Summit, Springfield and St. Joseph can receive the grants.

The Department of Agriculture is prioritizing funding for projects that demonstrate an economic benefit and potential for sustainable revenue and job creation.

Christi Miller, a spokesperson for the department, said grants will be scored and approved until funds run out.

“If projects are awarded at lower amounts than the maximum, there is potential for more than five grants to be awarded,” she said.

The competitive grant can be used to support introducing a new crop or product to an area, expanding the use of an agricultural product, or adding value to a product. That might include developing a small agribusiness, workforce training or creating production infrastructure or direct distribution venues, according to the department.

The grants require a match of at least one quarter per dollar received from the state. Matches can be cash or in-kind, but cash matches must be at least half of the total match eligibility.

According to the grant website, the only requirement for applicants is they reside in an urban location.

Miller said past grant recipients have been individuals, agribusinesses and non-profits. She said she’s not aware of local governments or institutions of higher education ever applying, but they are not exempt if the project meets the requirements.

Department of Agriculture staff will inspect projects before dispersing grant funds. Projects are expected to be complete or nearly complete by the inspection, which will be done by June 1, 2023.

Grants can only be applied to reimburse costs increased throughout the grant period. The department requires awardees to submit detailed receipts and complete training it offers.

Applicants must be registered as a vendor with the state, and be in good standing as a registered business with the secretary of state, if applicable.

Applications by mail and email are due to the Department of Agriculture by Sept. 15. Applicants will be notified if they received the grant in October. Projects must be complete and ready for inspection by May 1, 2023.

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