LYONS, Neb. – The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) is now accepting applications for grants through the Independent Processor Assistance Program, which is designed to improve and expand Nebraska’s meat processing capabilities.
The NDA will award approximately $9.8 million in grants to small- and medium-sized processors for modification or construction of buildings; packaging, processing, and storage equipment; technology to improve logistics or enable e-commerce; and workforce training.
Sen. Tom Brandt, who introduced legislation to create IPAP in 2021 and again to secure funding for the program earlier this year, welcomed the NDA’s announcement.
“We started working on the Independent Processor Assistance Program two years ago with the Center for Rural Affairs and Nebraska Cattlemen Association in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic in order to create more capacity and strengthen food security,” Brandt said. “We were successful in that collaboration with the inclusion of the allocated ARPA funding of $9.8 million in LB 1014, and I look forward to our small and medium processors receiving the assistance they need.”
Johnathan Hladik, policy director for the Center, said he’s pleased to see IPAP come to fruition.
“For two years producers and processors across rural Nebraska have fought hard to get this program approved and established,” he said. “Their work, along with that of the Legislature and staff at NDA, will be a direct benefit to the households across Nebraska looking for more affordable and higher quality food options.”
The deadline to apply is Aug. 12.
Eligible processors must operate as either a USDA-FSIS facility or a federally regulated custom-exempt slaughter and processing facility, while also complying with federal regulations. 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.
The application, as well as information about eligible expenses and answers to frequently asked questions, are available at nda.nebraska.gov/promotion/
— Center for Rural Affairs