Nebraska Small Business Stabilization Grant Application Open Through July 1

Nebraska Small Business Stabilization Grant Application Open Through July 1
White ag building and tractor.

Nebraska, utilizing federal COVID-19 relief funding, has established a program to help businesses, including ranching, impacted by COVID-19.  The Department of Economic Development expects to award grants of $12,000 to eligible businesses, for a total of approximately $330 million. Following a temporary pause, applications for livestock producers are now being accepted until July 1.  Awards will be issued to qualifying applicants until funds are exhausted.  The funds may go towards any operating expense put towards continuing the business operations. 

At-A-Glance: Livestock Producer Eligibility

  • Adjusted Gross Income on the Eligibility Certification should be the AGI (positive or negative) from the Form 1040. This number is used solely for the identification of the applicant. It does not meet a 2/3 income from farm or ranching requirement. In short do not use the gross income from farming.
  • On your 1040N, if you did not check that you are a farmer/rancher, you are not qualified.
  • The grant money does not have to be repaid, but may be taxable income.
  • Employees are not measured by full-time equivalents. Part-time and full -time employees are treated as whole numbers in the required count. For example, if I had three full-time employees and two part-time employees, my employee count for the application would be five employees.
  • 1099 contract employees do not qualify as employees
  • A business owner is considered an employee.
  • Negative impact from COVID-19 must show employee layoff, loss or revenue, or other loss due to COVID-19.
  • You will be asked to detail how the grant money will be spent.

Eligible business

For those who operate a small business in Nebraska the guidelines on qualifications are fairly wide open.  As of March 13, 2020 the business must have 5-49 employees.  The only other stipulation is a list of ineligible business for the grant are provided.  These businesses are: Mining, Utilities, Finance and Insurance, Management of Companies and Enterprises, Educational Services, Public Administration, and Lobbyist and Political Organizations.

Farm and ranch specific guidelines

Nebraska owned livestock producers with 1-10 employees as of March 13, 2020 are also eligible. These operations must have closed or sustained a loss of revenue or employment since March 13, 2020. Examples of covered NAICS codes are: Beef Cattle Ranching and Farming, Dairy Cattle and Milk Production, Hog and Pig Farming, Poultry and Egg Production, and Sheep/Goat Farming. For these operations there is a requirement that two-thirds of gross income must come from farming or ranching, and operations must have at least 20 animal units. To calculate your animal units take the number of animals you have times the corresponding multiplier from the table: For any animal group not listed the animal unit can be calculated by taking the average weight of the animals and dividing by 1,000 lbs. then multiplying by the number of head. This calculation is the summation of all groups when meeting the 20 animal unit requirement. An example is if I have 19 Feeder Cattle I would have 19 animal units. If that same operation also has two horses to work the feedlot those horses are four animal units. Together I would have a total of 23 animal units in that particular operation.

Animal Classification


Slaughter and Feeder Cattle


Cow/Calf pairs


Mature Dairy Cattle


Swine weighing 55 lbs. or more


Weaned pigs weighing less than 55 lbs.













Application and final thoughts

This is a fantastic opportunity to those that are eligible, and in need of assistance.  The process for the grant works in a two-step process.  First, the Nebraska Department of Economic Development will provide an Eligibility Certification Form and application materials.  These materials must be completed durning the open application period for most applicants.  Livestock producer’s application window is from June 22 through July 1.  If your application is viewed as eligible for the grant you will be given a confirmation number.  Once you have that confirmation number you can complete step two, which is to send in the final application.  The Eligibility Certification Confirmation Number, most recent W-4, and employee listing as of March 13, 2020 will be required when you the file.  The Department of Economic Development may request supplemental materials from applicants.  Helpful guides and videos can be found on the Department of Economic Development’s website.

Austin Duerfeldt
Extension Educator and Southeast Regional Economist

Department of Agricultural Economics