The Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority has awarded 13 grants designed to help producers implement innovative ideas for processing and marketing value-added agricultural products, Gov. Roger Wilson announced.

The value-added grants were awarded under a program signed into law several years ago by the late Gov. Mel Carnahan. The Missouri Value-Added Grant Program provides grants to rural agricultural operations that add value to Missouri agricultural products. The grants also are intended for projects that foster economic development in the state's rural communities.

"These grants are part of a broad initiative that is ushering in the value-added age in Missouri agriculture," Wilson said. "This funding helps farmers and agribusinesses pursue innovative ways to become more profitable on the farm. Today's producers need such incentives to help combat lingering low commodity prices and help level the playing field."

Wilson said the grants also enable producers to fund value-added ventures without risking their own capital.

The 13 grants, which totaled more than $437,000, were awarded to:

--Montgomery County Extension Council, Montgomery City, to study the feasibility of establishing a farmer-owned soybean processing facility ($12,000).

--E & E Country Kitchen, LLC, Middletown, to study the market for specialty processed beef ($43,153).

--Mid-Missouri Premium Grain, LLC, Boonville, to determine if there is a market for exporting Missouri-grown and processed beef ($22,000).

--Ancell Enterprises, Inc., Joplin, to perform a feasibility and market study of processing poultry co-products ($21,100).

--Portageville Farmers Gin, Inc., Portageville, to fund a business and marketing plan and the pre-engineering design for a facility that would take the lint off cottonseed ($49,170).

--Oregon County Packing Plant, Alton, for legal assistance and business planning to start a cow slaughtering and processing cooperative ($22,000).

--Pemiscot County Farmers Group, Caruthersville, to study the market for a specialty-soybean crushing cooperative ($39,243).

--SEMO Regional Bean Baggers, Bell City, for a feasibility and marketing study for a specialty-grain bagging cooperative ($97,075).

--Missouri Country Fresh, Macon, to fund a feasibility and marketing study for a poultry and rabbit processing cooperative ($23,980).

--Missouri Bison Association, Belton, to determine the feasibility of cooperatively marketing Missouri-grown and processed bison ($33,967).

--RIBUS, Inc., St. Louis, for a feasibility and marketing study of producing a rice bran milk food product ($24,200).

--Missouri Rice Marketers, LLC, Dexter, to fund a business prospectus, financial consultation and pre-engineering design for a rice cooperative ($31,900).

--Shatto Farms Creamery, Osborn, to determine the feasibility and market for a producer-owned milk bottling facility ($17,325).

More than $2.4 million in grants has been awarded since they were funded in the 1998 legislative session.

For more information about the Missouri Value-Added Grant Program or the Value-Added Loan Guarantee Program or for an application and guidelines, contact the Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority, at 573-751-2129 or 573-526-6827, or write to PO Box 630, Jefferson City, MO 65102.

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