Oklahoma City-Grant and loan application deadline for the next Oklahoma Agricultural Enhancement and Diversification program is October 1.  State agriculture officials are urging all producers with innovative ideas to apply.

   Agricultural diversification grants of up to $5,000 are available as well as interest-free loans in three categories: Cooperative Marketing Loans, Marketing and Utilization Loans, and Basic and Applied Research Loans.

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  Loans may not be used to purchase land, buildings or equipment.  Eligible expenses include feasibility studies, business plans, legal expenses, consultant fees, product development and marketing.

  “We’re looking for producers interested in either diversifying their current operations or entering some form of value-added or marketing venture,” said Rick Maloney, Marketing Director for the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry.  “Our hope is that we get some good applications from growers or producer groups interested in pursuing forms of value-added enterprises or marketing cooperatives.”

Among other things, OAED loans and grants have been used to create a variety of diversified enterprises such as agritourism venues, marketing cooperatives and food processing businesses.  Maloney said board members who review and approve proposals for the funds hope to see some creative applications for the program.

“The OAED board of directors is especially interested in the most creative types of proposals,” he said.  “This program is unique in that by its very design it can help get some unconventional marketing projects-perhaps the kind that regular financial institutions would be afraid to invest-get their start.”

Applications are available online from the ODAFF at www.oda.state.ok.us by clicking the “Loans” link. For more information contact Harvey at (405) 522-5563.  The mailing address is Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry, 2800 N. Lincoln Blvd., Oklahoma City, OK 73105.

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