AFAN Awards First Livestock Friendly County Grant to Red Willow County

The Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (AFAN) awarded its first $5,000 Livestock Friendly County Grant November 26 in McCook to Red Willow County, in care of the McCook Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).

AFAN provides an award of up to $5,000 per application from previously designated Livestock Friendly Counties to support a multitude of projects and campaigns developed by local stakeholders to encourage and support agriculture, livestock and related food processing in their counties. Red Willow County was designated a Livestock Friendly County in January 2018 by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.

Brief presentations from Will Keech, AFAN’s director of livestock development and Andy Long, executive director of MEDC, preceded the grant presentation.

“AFAN is committed to helping Nebraska counties attract ag industries to their communities by providing the Livestock Friendly County Grant,” Keech said. “We are happy to present our first grant award to Red Willow County. The MEDC put together a compelling application outlining their needs and marketing plans.”

AFAN’s Will Keech, (center left) presents the $5,000 LivestockFriendly Grant check to MEDC Director Andy Long (center right) in McCook Monday, Nov. 26. Shown here celebrating with Keech and Long are (from left)MEDC board members Linda Taylor, Jamie Mockery, Kim Schilling, Dennis Berry, Carol Schlegel, Mark Graff, and MEDC staff member Angela Allen. (photo credit: McCook Gazette)

The MEDC’s Long stressed that agriculture is the foundation of Red Willow County’s economy. “A large percentage of McCook’s economy is directly related to our agriculture industry,” he said. “Our cattle producers and complementary businesses are vital to our economic success.” He said the grant “will provide the catalyst for our efforts to improve value-added recruitment efforts. Anything we can do to help our producers increase their revenue is a bonus to the entire region.” According to Long, the grant will allow the MEDC “to start our own digital marketing efforts to value-added agriculture operations and gives us focus on our recruitment efforts. The grant has already resulted in some strong conversations about opportunities we have locally to play to our strengths.”

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