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Missouri is implementing tax credits to boost urban farming

Mitchell Pearson, founder of Phi Global LLC, holds a handful of ripe tomatoes on Monday, Sept. 12, 2022, at his farm in Spanish Lake.
Britny Cordera
NPR Next Generation Radio
Mitchell Pearson, founder of Phi Global LLC, holds a handful of ripe tomatoes in Sept. 2022 at his farm in Spanish Lake.

Missouri is rolling out a new tax credit program to encourage more urban farms throughout the state. People in specific areas, including St. Louis, Rolla and Hannibal, can claim the credit for startup and expansion costs.

The initiative could help address parts of the state where fresh vegetables and produce are scarce.

"This tax credit isn't targeted specifically to those food-insecure areas," said Jacob Stoehr with the Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority. "But we do have a lot of people who don't have access to fresh, local, fruits and vegetables so I think this program is a good step in addressing that issue."

Executive Director Jill Wood says the credits should help people who want to help feed others.

"This program may be used by both new and existing producers focused on providing food to the public," she said.

The program involves urban farmers who spent up to $10,000 on establishing or improving an operation could receive half of that back on taxes. The state says the total tax credit pool for the initiative is $200,000.

It is coming out as the popularity of urban farming throughout Missouri is increasing.

"Seems like the past couple of years we do get more calls from people looking to start urban farms, or are or maybe expand an operation," Stoehr said. "Maybe they have a small personal garden but want to take the next step growing it into a commercial operation."

The new tax credits are one tool available to urban farmers who want financial support.

Stoehr says the Missouri Department of Agriculture runs a couple of loan programs and the U.S. Department of Agriculture will have resources as it looks to expand its presence in St. Louis and Kansas City.

Wayne is the morning newscaster at St. Louis Public Radio.