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Trout farmer nets development grant to help value added prospects

US - Last week eight Nebraska rural businesses were selected to receive over $680,000 combined in Value Added Producer Grants (VAPG). There were 162 recipients in all, from 40 states and Puerto Rico who received grants.

Steve MacGregor, a Plainview resident, and business’s proprietor, saw the opportunity for Nebraska Farm Raised Trout when he noticed that trout aren’t farmed on the scale that other local varieties such as bluegill, catfish and perch are.

After extensive research, MacGregor decided to use materials from old grain bins that he tore down to form holding tanks for raising trout. After experimenting with several hundred trout and doing lab testing, he was convinced that this could be a viable enterprise for value-added agriculture and he pursued the grant to help him see if there would be a market available.

MacGregor's intention is sell the trout locally to area restaurants as well as larger regional chains that may have a demand for local and fresh produce.

Mike Heavrin, Cooperative Development Manager at the Center for Rural Affairs and reviewer of federal grant applications, was instrumental in assisting four of the Nebraska grant recipients in the application process, including MacGregor.

“Steve MacGregor has taken a look at what possibilities are available and applied the technology to form a new value-added venture that he can capitalize on,” said Heavrin.

Nebraska Farm Raised Trout located outside of Plainview, NE received funds for a feasibility study, business plan, and marketing plan to create an aquaculture project in Pierce County.

Source: SouthwestNebraskaNews

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