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South Centers

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Ag business owners learn about sources of capital at Money to Grow

Hannah Scott

By Christie Welch
Direct Food and Agriculural Marketing Specialist

One of the critical pieces to growing a business is access to the needed capital. Because food and agriculture-based businesses do not always fit the mold of what most traditional lenders require, Money to Grow was born to make connections between these growing businesses and lenders and grantors who have programs focused on food and agriculture businesses.

Christie WelchThe event featured sessions that provided education on how the grant process typically works and when or if a grant might be a fit for a growing business. The agriculture industry is unique and therefore has some grant programs that may help a growing food or farm business.
With the support of the Small Business Administration (SBA), the workshop invited a variety of organizations that provide capital access to food and farm businesses. 
This allowed business owners to make connections with these providers, learn more about their programs, and move forward based on the needs of the businesses.

A highlight of the workshop was the ability to hear from Tami and Wayne Mercer of Circle M Meats. The Mercers started the business in 2021 to better serve the local community. 
Throughout the process of starting their business they learned about loan and grant programs that were available to help them grow their business. Hearing firsthand how Circle M navigated the process was very helpful, said one attendee of the workshop. They went on to say it is nice to know there are other agriculturally based businesses that they can connect with and learn from. 

In addition to the Mercers, participants were able to connect with the service providers who were in attendance including USDA programs - Rural Development, Farm Service Agency, Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) and Natural Resource Conservation Service; the SBA; Kingston National Bank; Pike County Community Action; Economic and Community Development Institute; Minority Business Assistance; Ohio CAN; South Central Development; and USDA Rural Food Business Center.
The event was a collaboration of The OSU South Centers Direct Food and Agricultural Marketing Program, CFAES Center for Cooperatives, and Small Business Development Center. If your local food and/or farm business would like to learn more, you can contact Christie Welch,