UNL receives $25 million grant from USDA to create regional food business center
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – UNL received a $25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to form a new regional food business center.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln was selected to be the hub for the Heartland region, which consists of five states: Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.
The business center will be one of 12 national centers.
During the pandemic, cracks began to show in the nation’s food supply. That sparked the need for these centers.
Most of the money the USDA distributed came directly from the American Rescue Plan Act.
The centers will benefit consumers by allowing more local and regional businesses to get their products onto store shelves.
Jenny Lester Moffitt, USDA undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs, visited UNL on Tuesday to host a roundtable discussion with different partners working with the university.
During a news conference she said, “Consumers will be able to see product on their store shelf that has grown by producers in their community, grown by producers in their state, grown by producers in this region that wouldn’t have otherwise been able to be grown.”
Rural Prosperity Nebraska, a department at UNL, will lead the project along with 33 other regional partners.
The department said this will not only help the health and quality of life for Nebraskans, but will also keep money in the state, boosting local economies.