Grant program welcome news for local processors, consumers

Farm and Food
Small Towns

For two years, processors and producers across rural Nebraska have fought hard to get a program to improve and expand Nebraska’s meat processing capabilities approved and established. 

Their work, along with that of the Nebraska Legislature and staff at Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA), has paid off as grant applications for the Independent Processor Assistance Program are now being accepted. 

This development is not only good news to processors who’ve spent the last two years doing everything they can to catch up from industry disruptions, but also households across the state looking for more affordable and higher quality food options. 

The NDA will award approximately $9.8 million to new and existing small- and medium-sized meat processors to facilitate improvements or expansions. 

The deadline to apply is Aug. 12. Grants can be used for modification or construction of buildings; packaging, processing, and storage equipment; technology to improve logistics or enable e-commerce; and workforce training.

Drawing from data prepared by the University of Nebraska’s Department of Animal Science, it estimated about 80 businesses would qualify for assistance. Nearly half have plans to use the program.

Eligible processors must operate as either a USDA-FSIS slaughter and processing facility or a federally regulated custom-exempt facility, while also complying with federal regulations, be located in Nebraska and registered in good standing with the Secretary of State to conduct business in the state, employ fewer than 25 people, and have less than $2.5 million annually in existing sales revenue.

With the deadline quickly approaching, we encourage processors to visit to learn more about IPAP and how to apply.

Center for Rural Affairs staff can also assist with questions. Please reach out to me at or call 402.687.2100.

Read more on the Independent Processor Assistance Program grant process here.