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Twenty-two value-added ag projects share $895,337 in grants (December 1, 2006)

LINCOLN, NEB. (December 1, 2006)-Governor Dave Heineman has awarded $895,337 in grants to 22 projects through the Value-Added Agricultural (VAA) grant program. Reauthorized in 2005 as part of the Nebraska Advantage jobs-creation economic incentive package administered by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, the VAA program invests in value-added products and businesses to help support and grow the state's agriculture industry.

"When we talk about economic development in Nebraska, we know that one size rarely fits all," Gov. Heineman said. "The value-added agriculture grants program gives us an opportunity to invest in the entrepreneurial spirit of rural Nebraska and offers a helping hand to budding agri-businesses across the state."

Grants up to $75,000 are awarded for research, educational training, and market development costs related to value-added products sold by Nebraska agricultural producers. The Nebraska Rural Development Commission and Nebraska Department of Agriculture review applications and recommend projects for the Governor's approval. Receiving funding during this second funding cycle are:

  • Building an Innovative Regional Food Manufacturing Community to Enhance Markets for Family Farms-$50,000 for educational and technical assistance to energize and encourage more small business development and entrepreneurship. The project involves local farmers and ranchers, government entities, local utility providers, economic development agencies, and the University of Nebraska Food Processing Center. Nebraska Municipal Public Power will contribute in-kind matching funds.
  • Central Nebraska Goat Meat Initiative-$20,000 to goat producers, ranchers, and 4-H organizations to increase production of goat raised for its meat, and to increase local direct markets statewide for the meat products. Eldon Kieborz and T& K Loos will provide in-kind matching funds.
  • Compost Coop-$67,310 to a partnership made up of a compost marketer and four feedlots from Milford, Neb., and Wisner, Neb., to produce and market bagged compost to an emerging organic lawn and garden-care industry. Organic Nutrient Solutions, Inc., Midwest Feeding Company, Ott Livestock Company, Wisner Feedlot, and Feller & Company Cattle Feeders will contribute in-kind matching funds.
  • Country Adventures-$66,600 to the online agri-tourism marketplace to simultaneously help rural residents promote and generate revenue from their existing operations/attractions, and market new country-based tourism experiences to consumers. KAAPA Outdoor Adventures, LLC, Berkley Insurance, Kent Hubbert and Jan Rodehorst will provide cash and in-kind matching funds.
  • Ethanol Curriculum-$60,000 to Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Neb., to develop curriculum and courses that lead to an associate degree or certificate in Biofuels Production. The program addresses economic and personnel needs of area farmers and the biofuels industry. Northeast Community College, Norfolk Public Schools, Elkhorn Valley Economic Development Council, Aquila, Nebraska Ethanol Board, Elkhorn Valley Ethanol, Siouxland Ethanol, LLC, Nebraska Public Power District, Husker Ag Processing, LLC, Northeast Nebraska Economic Development District, and LP Gill Landfill will contribute cash and in-kind matching funds.
  • Extreme Entrepreneurs-$75,000 to continue supporting the work of two young farming entrepreneurs to establish a year-round operation that processes and markets specialty pumpkins and high-end flowers. Country Pumpkin and Blossom Barn will contribute cash and in-kind matching funds.
  • George Paul Vinegar-$47,750 to George Paul Vinegar to develop a gourmet vinegar processing facility in Cody, Neb. The facility will support both commercially grown fruits by farmers and ranchers, and production and harvest of native wild fruits. Rolling HIlls Vineyard and Kimmel Orchard will contribute cash and in-kind matching funds.
  • Growing Nebraska's Winery and Grape Industry-$38,000 to the Nebraska Winery and Grape Growers Association to work with the state's 80 vineyards and 18 wineries in developing an economically viable and sustainable Nebraska winery and grape industry. The Nebraska Wine and Grape Growers Association will provide cash and in-kind matching funds.
  • Hunting & Recreation Development-$35,577 to Blackwood Hunting & Recreation, LLC, a business that offers several hunting adventures on 30,000 acres of prime southwest Nebraska real estate owned and managed by the business' creators. Blackwood Hunting & Recreation will contribute cash and in-kind matching funds.
  • Little Blue Energy, LLC-$50,000 to Little Blue Energy, LLC and Eagle Capital Group, comprised of local farmers and other individuals interested in agriculture, who are proposing to build an ethanol plant near Roseland, Neb., that produces 50 million gallons per year. Little Blue Energy, LLC, and Eagle Capital Group will provide matching cash funds.
  • Local Food Marketing and Distribution Initiative-$25,900 to the Nebraska Food Cooperative to expand its operations resulting in increased sales of local food products to restaurants, retailers and institutions. The Nebraska Food Marketing Board of Directors will contribute in-kind matching funds.
  • Midwest Agri-Services: Quality Beef Production-$500 to the Cass-Otoe County Cattlemen's Association and others connected with the beef industry to develop new ideas and solutions for improving the efficiency and profitability of cowherds. Cass-Otoe County Cattlemen's Association will provide matching funds.
  • Nebraska Turkey Growers Cooperative Market Development-$56,000 to the Nebraska Turkey Growers Cooperative, a processing and marketing entity in Gibbon, Neb., to hire a market development specialist who is charged with coordinating the expansion of turkey production in Nebraska. Nebraska Turkey Growers Cooperative will contribute in-kind matching funds.
  • Nebraska Value Added Partnership Web Site-$5,000 to the Nebraska Value Added Partnership to develop a one-stop web site that features partnership resources aimed at developing value-added agricultural businesses in Nebraska. Nebraska Farm Bureau, Center for Rural Affairs, and the Nebraska Cooperative Council will provide in-kind matching funds.
  • Organic Blue Corn Production and Marketing-$75,000 to Organic Blue Corn Producers to develop and implement a plan for increasing blue corn production, processing and marketing in Nebraska. Platte Valley Blue Corn Growers will contribute a matching cash funds.
  • Renewable Fuel Technology-$30,000 to Renewable Fuel Technology Incorporated, a research and development company involved in discovering potential agricultural applications for a growing renewable energy technology market. Phil High Farms, Kent Sturgis Farms, and Orthman Manufacturing will provide cash and in-kind matching funds.
  • Republican River Organic Produce-$2,600 to Republican River Organic Produce to establish an organic fruit and vegetable production and marketing company in southwest Nebraska. Prairie Sunset Farm and Hilton Farm EcoRetreat will contribute in-kind matching funds.
  • Republican Valley Bio-Fuels-$70,000 to Republican Valley Bio-Fuels, a joint venture designed to educate Republican River Valley farmers about planting low water use crops for use as profitable bio-fuel alternatives. Ag Valley COOP and Ag Development Inc. will provide cash and in-kind matching funds.
  • Research the Development Biomass Butanol Fermentation for Alternative Fuel-$12,000 to BEC Corporation, Spring Valley Farm, John Knapp Farm and Martin Farms to research the viability of the biomass butanol fermentation process as an alternative fuel. BEC Corporation, Spring Valley Farm, John Knapp Farm and Martin Farms will contribute cash and in-kind matching funds.
  • Sandhills Commercial Honey & Food Processing Operation-$75,000 to Patrick Chandler, Racheal Chandler, Calvin Kelly, Benjamin Chandler and Eric Evanson to build a commercial honey processing, bottling/packing and kitchen facility in Anselmo, Neb. that helps meet the needs of beekeeping operations in Nebraska's Sandhills. Patrick Chandler, Racheal Chandler, Calvin Kelly, Benjamin Chandler and Eric Evanson will provide in-kind matching funds.
  • Schilling Bridge Winery & Microbrewery-$5,600 to Schilling Bridge Winery & Microbrewery to create a strategic partnership with Plum Creek Farms, Inc., with the goal of increasing income, economic and tourism opportunities for both facilities, and surrounding venues in southeast Nebraska. Schilling Bridge Winery and Microbrewery and Plum Creek Farms will contribute cash and in-kind matching funds.
  • Value-Added Products From Syriaca-A New Crop for Nebraska Farmers-$27,500 to the Nebraska Syriaca Cooperative to increase production of value-added Syriaca (milkweed) oil from Syriaca pods grown and harvested by farmers in southeast Nebraska. Ogallala Comfort Company and Nebraska Syriaca Cooperative will provide cash and in-kind matching funds.

Linda Fettig at 308-749-2291, or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Talent & Innovation Initiative (TI2)

One of the most important accomplishments of the 2011 legislative session was the passage of several bills focused on creating new momentum for developing and attracting businesses rooted in technology and innovation—Talent and Innovation Initiative. The Nebraska Department of Economic Development is in the early stages of implementation of the initiative and additional information on each program can be found here as it becomes available.


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Nebraska Department of Economic Development | Courtney Dentlinger, Department Director
301 Centennial Mall South | P.O. Box 94666 | Lincoln, NE 68509-4666
Phone (800) 426-6505 | Fax (402) 471-3778