U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says a total of $7.4-million is being awarded to 76 businesses in 35 states.
“This program basically focuses on ag innovation, the innovation that can impact and affect production of crops and livestock or the protection of crops and livestock,” Vilsack says. “That innovation starts with research, oftentimes on a university campus, funded in part by the support that USDA provides to land grant universities.”
Vilsack says the new localized investments help to support groundbreaking scientific research that improves agriculture and creates strong rural economies.
“An idea, a thought basically then is developed and the assistance we provide here will allow that idea and thought to potentially get up to scale, to get commercial-sized and to get out in the marketplace,” Vilsack says. “There are just incredible innovations that will make a difference over time.”
Each of the two Nebraska firms are getting $100,000 USDA grants. Bugeater Labs in Lincoln is using a nutrient-rich insect base to create food products that mimick pasta and rice. Also, Windcall Manufacturing of Venango is working with a handheld device that can harvest, thresh and the test moisture levels of various grains.
Rural America is on the road to recovery after one of the worst economic recessions in our history, Vilsack says, and “we cannot underestimate the role that small business innovation has played in bringing jobs back to their hometowns.”