For this grant program, “value-added” means changing the physical state of the product such as turning grapes into wine. Last year one of the grant recipients was the Nebraska Syriaca Cooperative which produces Syriaca (milkweed) oil from Syriaca pods grown and harvested by farmers.
There are many other niche markets that have yet to be tapped, but with out adequate resources, many producers can not get these ideas off the ground.
With over $2.5 million in requests this year and only $800,000 in available grant funds it is clear that the demand for this program is far outstripping available resources. We encourage the Legislature to work diligently to increase the funding for these grants so that more Nebraska entrepreneurs and communities can benefit.