Value Added is the Name of the Game

By Elisha Greeley Smith,, Center for Rural Affairs
The State of Nebraska is accepting applications for Value Added Agriculture grants. The grants support projects that contribute to greater collaboration between farmers/ranchers, start-up and expansion of value-added agricultural enterprises, joint marketing of high value products, such as natural livestock, and growth of rural communities.
All applications must be received by noon, Friday, October 3, 2008. These grants are popular and competitive, with demand far outstripping available funding. Therefore, those interested should not wait to apply.
Eligible applicants include farming and ranching operations; communities, counties, agencies, and educational institutions; economic development providers and development districts; nonprofits and resource conservation organizations; and agricultural cooperatives, associations, or marketing entities.
Unlike the Federal Value Added Producer Grant Program, the state program will allow money to be used for equipment and buildings. Again, projects must be collaborative and benefit more than one person. Applicants should match 25% of funds requested except for equipment or buildings, and then the match is 50%. The maximum awarded amount per project is $75,000.
Increasing the value of a raw agricultural product between harvest and sale typically includes processing in some way such as cleaning, cutting, labeling, smoking, drying, freezing, extracting, or preserving. Marketing unique and high quality food products also adds value to farm and ranch products.
Many consumers are willing to pay a premium for locally produced, high-quality, natural or organic products. For more information on these grants and how to apply contact Mike Heavrin, , at the Center for Rural Affairs, 402-687-2103 ext 1008, or visit:


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