Another round of grants available through Independent Processor Assistance Program

Farm and Food

Meg Jackson, local foods associate,, 402.309.9096; Teresa Hoffman, senior communications associate,, 402.687.2100, ext. 1012

LYONS, NEBRASKA – The Center for Rural Affairs applauds the Nebraska Department of Agriculture’s (NDA) continued efforts to support the state’s small- and medium-sized meat processors with its announcement of a second round of grant funding through the Independent Processor Assistance Program (IPAP).

The NDA will award approximately $5.1 million in grants to processors for the modification or construction of buildings; packaging, processing, and storage equipment; technology to improve logistics or enable e-commerce; and workforce training.

The application period opens Jan. 16. The deadline to apply is Feb. 16.

This is expected to be the final round of funding being offered through IPAP. In 2022, nearly $5 million in grants were awarded to 64 small- and medium-sized processors from across the state.

The grant announcement is welcome news to the Center, which worked with Nebraska State Sen. Tom Brandt in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic to establish IPAP and secure $10 million in grant funding during the 2021 and 2022 sessions, respectively.

“The capacity of Nebraska’s small meat processors continues to improve and expand thanks in part to grants issued in the first round,” said Meg Jackson, local foods associate for the Center. “Most exciting has been seeing facilities use their grant funds for larger expansion projects and becoming USDA-inspected to access new markets like schools and restaurants."

Eligible processors may apply for up to $100,000 and must operate as either a U.S. Department of Agriculture-Food Safety and Inspection Service facility or a federally regulated custom-exempt slaughter and processing facility. Previous recipients will be eligible to apply, but preference will be given to applicants not previously awarded funding. The operation must be located in Nebraska and be registered in good standing with the secretary of state to conduct business in Nebraska. Additionally, the processing facility must employ fewer than 25 people and have less than $2.5 million annually in existing sales revenue.

Among the first round of grant recipients was Mark Cornelius, who owns Cornelius Butchery in Pickrell, Nebraska. He used his $80,000 grant to buy new equipment that increased his facility’s production to keep up with demand and changing consumer preferences.

“People want a source for local, reliable, and readily available meats—not only as a consumer but also as a producer,” Cornelius said. “The IPAP grant helped make our expansion possible and led to our decision to become a USDA facility. This will open up new markets for us.”

Applications will be accepted through the NDA’s online platform called AmpliFund. The application, as well as information about eligible expenses and answers to frequently asked questions, are available at For more information, contact Megan Pernicek, NDA federal aid administrator, at 402.471.6823 or