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Value-Added Producer Grant funds available

At Robinette Farms, funds from the Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program help pay for processing, marketing, distribution, and sales of pasture-raised chickens, eggs, and microgreens.

This year, $18 million in funding is available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) VAPG program. Paper applications are due Jan. 31, 2018, and electronic applications through www.grants.gov are due Jan. 24.

27 Iowa farmers sign farm bill letter

Twenty-seven Iowa farmers, in support of conservation and crop insurance practices in the 2018 farm bill, signed and sent a letter to Iowa Congressional Representatives in October. Would you like to get involved in advocating for change in the farm bill? Reach out to Anna today at 515.215.1294, or annaj@cfra.org.

Oct. 9, 2017

Dear Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, and Reps. Steve King, Dave Loebsack, David Young, and Rod Blum,

Latino businesses are the highlight of a walking tour

Latino entrepreneurs in Grand Island are proud of their businesses, and, in an effort to attract non-Latino customers, invited the public to a recent walking tour.

The Grand Island Latino Businesses Walking Tour was held Friday, Oct. 20, in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. The event was organized by the Center for Rural Affairs’ Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP) and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension.

Loop Brewing spurs economic development in McCook

Loop Brewing Company in McCook, Nebraska, is another craft brewery that has spurred economic development in its city.

The company was established in 2011 with 10 employees and now has 30 employees. To help get the business started, Center for Rural Affairs Rural Enterprise Assistance Project specialist Dena Beck provided one-on-one business plan coaching, and our small business lending program was able to help with a financing package to make the business a reality.

Rural communities tapped by craft breweries

Brewing beer is big business in the U.S. In 2016, this centuries-old practice generated $64 million in annual tax revenue and accounted for nearly 2 percent of Gross Domestic Product. Today, the beer industry employs more than 64,000 individuals nationwide.

These numbers are on the rise, especially when it comes to craft brewers. According to the Brewers Association, a craft brewer is small, independent, and traditional. Breweries that meet this definition have increased in number from 1,596, in 2009, to 5,234, in 2016.

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