Nebraska's Value-Added Agriculture Program

What is it? | Examples | How does it work? | Learn more

What Is It?

The Agricultural Opportunities and Value-Added Partnership Act is a grant program that supports collaboration between farmers and ranchers; the start-up and growth of value-added ag enterprises; and growth of rural communities and regions in Nebraska.

The program was created to increase the number and quality of self-employment opportunities for farming or ranching operations. The competitive grant process was created and is administered by the Nebraska Dept. of Agriculture and the Nebraska Dept. of Economic Development. It is due to expire on Dec. 31, 2010, but can serve as a model to other states.

Grant awards are supposed to:

  • Support new small enterprises in the ag sector of Nebraska’s rural economy and the development of agricultural communities.
  • Encourage collaboration between farming and ranching operations and businesses as well as communities and regions.
  • Strengthen value-added production by promoting strategic partnerships and networks through multi-group cooperation.
  • Enhance income and opportunity for farming and ranching operations in Nebraska to stem the decline in their numbers.
  • Increase the farming and ranching operations’ share of the food-system profit.
  • Enhance opportunities for farming and ranching operations to participate in ecommerce and new and emerging markets.


Branding the Southeast Nebraska Wine Trail
The Southeast Nebraska wine growers were awarded $16,344 for their project to brand and market the regional wineries. The grant will assist with efforts to develop a brand and web site and to publicize the region through various media.

Financial and in-kind support for the project is through SchillingBridge Winery & Microbrewery, Pawnee City; Deer Springs Winery, Lincoln; Soaring Wings Vineyard, Springfield; WunderRosa Winery, Roca; Glacial Till Vineyards, Palmyra; James Arthur Vineyards, Raymond; Whiskey Run Creek Vineyard and Winery, Brownville; and Windcrest Winery, Raymond. Contact Sharon Schilling at 402-852-2400 for information.

Basset Meat Processing Plant Study
The City of Bassett was awarded $5,000 to initiate a series of studies to determine the feasibility of opening a meat processing plant. In-kind match for the grant is provided by the City of Bassett. Contact Debbie Seberger 402-684-3319 for information.

North Central Nebraska Biomass Project
An award of $13,820 was made to the Loup Basin Resource Conservation and Development Council, Ord, for a feasibility study on biomass conversion of harvested cedar trees and other wood sources b>to burnable pellets or bricks. Partnering in the project and providing in-kind support are the North Central Resource Conservation and Development Council, Bassett, and Howard Glines and Mike Valasek, Jr. Contact Sheila Luoma at 308-728-3393 for information.

Nibbly Jibbits Equipment
Nibbly Jibbits was awarded $13,100 to purchase equipment allowing the business to expand production and add staff. Nibbly Jibbits produces horse and dog treats from local grains. Cash and in-kind support will be provided by Nibbly Jibbits of Chadron. Contact Leala Jimerson at 308-432-3260 for information.

How Does It Work?

Grants, up to $75,000 annually, are awarded for a one-year period, though may be renewed for up to three years. The applicant must provide a 25 percent match. This program expires on December 31, 2010.

Grants can be used for:

  • Research
  • Market development
  • Feasibility and market studies, capitalization plans, and technical assistance
  • Community and multi community initiatives
  • Efforts to obtain start-up or working capital or other capital expenditures necessary for the development of the project
  • Education and training
  • Non-administrative business planning assistance
  • Development of cooperatives
  • Creation, retention, and transfer of value-added agricultural business initiatives in rural communities
  • Community-based, farmer or rancher-owned value-added initiatives

Eligible Entities include communities, counties, agencies, educational institutions, economic development providers, nonprofit corporations, agricultural cooperatives, agricultural associations, agricultural marketing associations or entities, resource conservation organizations, development districts, and farming or ranching operations in collaborative arrangements with other operations, entities, or organizations.

Learn More

For information on applying for a value added grant, visit this page on the Nebraska Department of Economic Development website or contact Linda Fettig at 308-380-4966 or