Grow Nebraska Dairy

Nebraska Dairy – See What Nebraska Can Do for You

Nebraska First Mover Advantage

NSDA First Mover Advantage

Nebraska is ripe for growth in dairy processing. And the fi rst dairy processor to make the move to Nebraska is going to have fi rst pick of prime locations, milk suppliers and market access.

We call it the First Mover Advantage—and here are the reasons that the First Mover to Nebraska should be you.

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Growth and Development Committee

Working for Opportunities for Industry Growth in Nebraska

For Information contact:

Rod Johnson

Jeffrey F Keown

A Message from the Director of Agriculture

Agriculture is the backbone of Nebraska’s economy, and our dairy industry is a vital part of our state’s top industry. Fortunately, Nebraska offers dairy producers and processors all the key ingredients for success, whether you are relocating from outside the state or looking to expand your Nebraska operation(s).

This website is designed to identify key factors that need to be considered by dairy producers, dairy processors and Nebraska communities. On the following pages, you will find information pertaining to Nebraska’s agricultural statistics and the economic advantages of our great state. Also, you will find information on State agencies, their roles and responsibilities, and how to contact them.

Our land, our people, and our plentiful resources are Nebraska’s advantages. They make our state a great choice for the dairy industry.

Discover what Nebraska has to offer. I think you will agree, Nebraska truly is dairy’s new world of opportunity.

Greg Ibach, Director
Nebraska Department of Agriculture

A Message from Nebraska State Dairy Association Executive Director

Thank you for visiting the Nebraska State Dairy Association, and the Grow Nebraska Dairy team.

Nebraska is poised for expansion in the dairy industry.  We have the natural resources to support tremendous growth.  The Ogallala Aquifer lies under Nebraska and provides ample water for irrigation; Nebraska is the number one irrigated state in the nation with more than nine million acres being irrigated.  Crop and alfalfa production is very consistent even in a dry year.

Nationally, Nebraska is ranked number one in irrigated acres, two in ethanol production, three in corn production, four in alfalfa and soybean production.  When you consider Nebraska’s availability of land, open spaces and support for livestock, it is apparent our state is the land of opportunity for dairy.

Dairy processors will find great opportunities in Nebraska.  The state has excellent infrastructure with access to high quality roads and railroad transportation.  Interstate 80 runs east and west through the state and most parts of the U.S. can be reached within two days.  Nebraska is a pro-agriculture and pro-business state.  In fact Forbes ranks Nebraska as the 3rd best state for business in 2016.

Nebraska has a broad coalition of support to grow the dairy industry.  Our Grow Nebraska Dairy team includes representation from Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA), Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED), Nebraska Public Power District(NPPD), the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (AFAN), the University of Nebraska – Lincoln (UNL), Nebraska State Dairy Association (NSDA), as well as support from many other state and local partners.  This team is highly engaged and highly motivated to grow the dairy industry.

If you have any questions or need any additional information please contact me or any of the dairy team.


Rod Johnson
Nebraska State Dairy Association, Executive Director

Grow Nebraska Dairy Team

Rod Johnson
NE State Dairy Association

Kim Clark
UNL – Extension, Dairy

Emily Skillet

Kris Benson

Steve Martin
NE Dept of Agriculture

Brian Vasa
NE Public Power District

Development Tools

Select the following links to learn about Nebraska’s agricultural statistics and economic advantages:

Nebraska: A New World Of Opportunity

Nebraska Advantage Act

Nebraska Department of Agriculture
Learn about Nebraska’s diverse agriculture industry.

Nebraska Department of Economic Development
The official lead economic development agency for Nebraska.

Nebraska Agriculture Fact Card
Learn about Nebraska’s agricultural statistics.

Nebraska Facts & Prices Card
Learn about Co-ops, processors, commodities, land value, real estate resources, and climatic conditions of Nebraska.

For Producers


Nebraska has an ample supply of quality feed available for animal agriculture. The feed resources include more than 1.27 billion bushels of corn harvested from 8.25 million acres; 250,000 acres of sorghum; 4.66 million acres of soybeans; and 2.85 million acres of hay (1.25 million acres of alfalfa and 1.6 million acres of wild hay).

Nebraska’s relatively dry climate and ample irrigation make it an ideal location for producing a consistent supply of aflatoxin-free corn. According to the Nebraska Corn Quality Study, more than 95% of the samples collected over 14 years graded U.S. #1 or #2. Our feed is high quality and inexpensive.

Ethanol Co-Products

Nebraska’s livestock industry, including dairy, can benefit from ethanol production through the consumption of the ethanol co-product distillers grain. Marketing projections for distillers grain is 1.595 million metric tons, and there is potential for this to double or triple in the next few years. A dairy cow typically can consume five or more pounds of dry distillers grain per day. Distillers grain is a very cost‑effective feed ingredient for lactating dairy cattle, and access to this co-product continues to grow.


Nebraska has an abundant supply of quality water available for use in livestock and crop production. Nearly 70% of the water in the Ogallala Aquifer – the world’s largest source of underground water – can be found beneath Nebraska’s land surface. That is more than 14 trillion gallons of water — five times the water in Lake Erie. Nebraska also has over one billion gallons of water in surface reservoirs.


Nebraska is the nation’s only 100% public power state. Low utility costs make Nebraska an excellent location for industries, including agriculture enterprises. Industrial rates for electricity and natural gas in Nebraska are among the lowest in the nation (25% lower than the national average). Both energy sources are accessible throughout the state.


As the dairy industry becomes more mechanized and many of the routine day-to-day chores are run by computers, a top-quality labor force is essential. Nebraska workers are among the most productive workers in the nation, and they are known for their strong work ethic and technical proficiency.

Nebraska’s labor force is also known for its high productivity and low absentee and turnover rates. These traits translate directly into industry profitability.

Nebraska has lower than average rates for unemployment insurance (74% less than the national average) and workers’ compensation insurance (71.5% less than the national average). In fact, workers’ compensation insurance is not required until one employs ten or more workers.

Quality of Life

With a population of 1.7 million, Nebraska is the only state in the union governed by a nonpartisan unicameral legislature. The state’s business-friendly climate includes a constitutional right-to-work provision, competitive labor costs, and a strong work ethic. Nebraskans are friendly, sincere, and proud of the state’s agricultural tradition. Our communities have low crime rate and strong family values.

Nebraska offers a beautiful, diverse landscape – from the rolling hills and fertile valleys in the east; to the level farm ground of the central region; to the beautiful Sandhills in the north; to the high plains in the western Panhandle and southwestern corners of the state. Wide-open spaces allow for room to build, expand, and enjoy life. Modern cities are scattered throughout the state. The cost of living is significantly lower in Nebraska than other states in the nation. This, coupled with a friendly atmosphere, makes Nebraska a great place to live!

Nebraska ranks high in public education when compared to the rest of the nation. Nebraska’s public schools boast a 93.8% graduation rate, compared to the 81.7% national average. The student/teacher ratio is 13:1, compared to a national average of 17:1. Nebraska schools also pride themselves on strong partnerships between high schools, parents, community colleges, universities, business, and industry.

Neb Guide: Income Calculations

Financing Sources

Farm Service Agency (FSA) Loans
Scroll through this list to learn about various FSA loans.

National Farm Transition Network
Programs that foster the next generation of farmers and ranchers.

Nebraska Rural Development
Assists Nebraskans in accessing USDA financing programs.


In 2006, Nebraska’s tax law was updated by LB 990 – passed by the Nebraska Legislature and signed into law by Governor Dave Heineman. LB 990 added two important financial incentives for livestock operations, including dairies:

Qualified livestock production projects are eligible for $2,750 for each $50,000 in net investment, as well as $3,000 for each new full-time employee.

Qualified livestock modernization projects are eligible for credits worth 10percent of the net investment (credits limited to $30,000 per operation). Livestock modernization includes projects that involve depreciable buildings, facilities, and equipment, other than motor vehicles, planes, and railroad rolling stock.

For more information about Nebraska incentives, contact:

Mary Hugo, Economic Incentive Manager
Nebraska Department of Revenue
Phone: (402) 471-5790
Fax: (402) 471-5767

Expansion Tools

UNL Cash Flow Worksheet

NEB GUIDE Connections
Search for “Dairy”

Checklist for Prospective Livestock Operations

Application Guide

Economic Dairy Model