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Nebraska Ag News Headlines
Farmers' Markets Making a Difference in Nebraska
Nebraska Ag Connection - 08/12/2020

Nebraska Farmers' Markets are a tribute to the vitality of Nebraska communities. USDA Rural Development offers opportunities to assist your community to establish or improve a local farmers' market; indoors or outdoors, with booths, tables, or stands, offering consumers fresh, local, homegrown, summer's best. Farmers' markets reflect local culture and enhance local economy

The Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) program provides support for rural small businesses. Eligible applicants for RBDG funding include rural communities, state agencies, non-profit corporations, Federally recognized Tribes, and institutions of higher learning. Individual businesses are not eligible to apply. RBDG funds are used by the applicant to assist small and emerging rural businesses with targeted technical assistance, training and training facilities, including commercial kitchens, business incubators, makerspaces and farmers' markets.

RBDG funds are making a significant impact in rural communities, training individuals to start their own market garden, harvest and sell their produce at farmers' markets, and expand their output to include weekly market basket sales. Small business technical assistance and training opportunities include basic business development planning and market outreach, Quick Books training and how to generate an internet presence via website development. Any eligible applicant may use RBDG funds to establish or improve a local farmers' market. Funds may be used to purchase and/or develop land, erect a farmers' market pavilion, purchase tables, chairs, tents, canopies, and signage. The purpose of the RBDG program and the result of any funded project must be assistance to small businesses. Small businesses are the individuals who pay a fee to use the market facility and to sell their product.

A few of the many benefits for communities with farmers' markets and consumers who favor farmers' markets include:

- buying at markets encourages attention to the surrounding area and ongoing activities, market traffic generates traffic for nearby businesses

- by providing outlets for 'local' products, farmers' markets help create distinction and uniqueness, which can increase pride and encourage visitors to return

- a place to meet neighbors and chat

- a place to enjoy an outdoor walk

- fresher foods, seasonal foods, healthier foods, a better variety of foods

To discuss applicant and project eligibility or for more information regarding the RBDG program contact Brant Richardson, or 402-437-5568, Deborah Drbal, or 402-437-5558 or visit Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) program.

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