Missouri Minute: Congress blocks USDA move; Unilever adding Sikeston production

Good morning, MBA readers,

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is making news again in Missouri, and it’s not just for the proposed relocation of two USDA agencies (although we have more on that, too). Plus, Kansas City transit authorities have thrown a $112 million development out the window in favor of hearing new proposals. Elsewhere, an ice cream manufacturer will boost production at its southeast Missouri facility. Read on for these and other top business headlines from across the state.

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From our newsroom

Introducing Pitchin’, a story of student startups and a high-stakes pitch contest
The Pitchin’ podcast goes behind the scenes with three student entrepreneurs who are juggling school and startups as they prepare for a pitch competition that could change their fortunes. In the first episode, we meet the entrepreneurs and hear about their light bulb moments.

We Grow KC summit to showcase city’s Opportunity Zones to investors
A new event taking place Wednesday and Thursday aims to bridge the divide between investors and underserved urban neighborhoods in Kansas City.

Digital Sandbox KC adds climate change, election startups
Digital Sandbox KC has selected four new startups for its “proof-of-concept” program. The startups will receive funds and guidance aimed at accelerating their growth.

Missouri health scorecard improves, still ranks near bottom nationally
Missouri’s health care system continues to rank among the worst in the country despite notable improvements in treatment metrics, according to a new report.

Stay alert

Congress blocks USDA move to KC
The Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives passed an appropriations bill Tuesday that contains no funding for the proposed relocation of two U.S. Department of Agriculture research agencies. The bill heads to the Senate. (Kansas City Star)

St. Louis job growth pauses after two strong months
The metro area lost 100 jobs in May after gains of 3,700 in March and 4,200 in April. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

KC transit authority kills $112 million development, plans ‘restart’
The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority has ended an agreement with Briarcliff Development for a 200,000-square-foot project in Kansas City’s River Market. It plans to issue a new request for proposals next month. (CityScene KC)

‘Flashcube’ apartments project in KC secures $33 million loan
Berkadia has arranged the $33 million redevelopment loan through Boston’s UC Funds on behalf of the developer WI Flashcube in Kansas City. Construction began in January and is expected to take 12 to 18 months to complete. (RE Journals)

Judge OKs $24 million settlement for St. Louis Rams seat license holders
Under the settlement approved Monday, personal seat license holders will get a refund for the nine years that remained on the 30-year license when the Rams moved to Los Angeles. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Ice cream maker moves production to southeast Missouri facility
Unilever, a London-based company that makes ice cream for brands like Ben and Jerry’s, has closed a manufacturing plant in Nevada. Production from the closed plant will move to facilities in three states, including one in Sikeston. (Reuters)

Jackson County to reassess taxes for 15,000 homes
The county says the average home value assessment has jumped 18% while some property assessments have doubled and tripled. (KCUR)

Say that again

“Entrepreneurs have four issues: not enough time, not enough money, not enough process, not enough mindset. So if UMSL can teach these things to students, the rate of success may go up.”

That’s UMSL Accelerate Executive Director Dan Lauer, who believes 95% of startups will fail while 70% of those that go through accelerators will succeed, St. Louis Public Radio reports. UMSL Accelerate sends 10 University of Missouri-St. Louis students to intern for startups in the Ameren Accelerator, a joint effort between Ameren and UMSL. Ameren hosted 12 energy startups at its St. Louis headquarters on Monday to compete for spots in the accelerator program. Up to nine winners will be announced in August.

Go figure

$7 million
That’s how much a rural hospital in Pilot Knob owes the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the midst a bankruptcy filed last year, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The money was loaned to Iron County through a program designed to stimulate rural economies. On Tuesday, the USDA objected to the hospital’s bankruptcy filing and insisted on getting paid back before other creditors. The hospital, which has been losing money for years, contends that it agreed to pay back the loan out of net revenue, citing bond documents. The USDA has threatened to undo an agreement between the hospital and Medicare officials, which endangers the hospital’s survival plan.

Hello, my name is

Swappa Local
Swappa, a Kansas City-based online marketplace for secondhand electronics, will now offer a more local approach, Startland News reports. Last week, the nine-year-old company launched Swappa Local, a service that facilitates local exchange of devices such as phones and laptops. Swappa Local aims to filter out scams and junk listings by requiring sellers to submit their device’s serial number and photo verification. When a buyer is interested in a product, the seller will pick a public meeting spot that is pre-approved by Swappa.

It’s been a pleasure doing business with you this morning.

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