ERDA, local agriculture businesses to apply for rural equipment grants | News

ENID, Okla. — Enid Regional Development Alliance board members approved several resolutions to assist an Enid area man’s local businesses with grant applications Thursday.

The annual grants are through the US Department of Agriculture’s Rural Business Development Grants program. Funds can be used in rural areas to benefit small and emerging businesses, according to USDA.

Applications were received from three local businesses: Enterprise Grain Co., Sidwell Seed and Sidwell Farms. All are owned by Brady Sidwell, an Enid area agribusiness entrepreneur.

Enterprise Grain has applied for specialty grain processing equipment and storage. Sidwell Seed has applied for a grain cleaning system to process certified planting seeds for farmers and businesses. Sidwell Farms has applied for the addition of a truck scale.

“I see no downside of doing it,” ERDA Executive Director Lisa Powell said. “This is an outstanding way to support our businesses with little skin in the game for us.”

Trent Misak, ERDA marketing and project manager, added that the three projects are under $100,000 each.

“We might as well submit all three applications, that way we can get at least one of them funded.” Misak said. “We have several other businesses interested in this grant, they just haven’t applied for it yet.”

The grant program mandates that rural public entities may apply for the program, which is why ERDA steps in to assist with applications and fund management.

If and when ERDA receives the funds, it will purchase the items, then carry the asset on its books. ERDA will lease the equipment to the applying business for a small profit. However, the lease payment is small, around .0125% of the cost of the equipment.

The profit ERDA receives is just enough to cover the time it spends assisting the local applicant, Powell said.

At the end of the useful life of equipment, it can be donated to the business that had been leasing it.

ERDA has not applied for these grants yet, since board approval was needed. Business owners must do all of the research and justification of their need for the equipment before ERDA will bring the resolution before the board.

Before approval, ERDA business member representative Brian Henson asked Powell what would happen if the receiving business closed while still leasing the equipment.

Since ERDA receives 100% of the funding for the goods, ERDA owns that asset outright upon its initial purchase, Powell said. If, for some reason, the business shut down before the useful life of the goods ended, ERDA would have that piece of equipment to do whatever with, she said.

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