LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nearly $500,000 in grants has been awarded to 12 different agricultural businesses in Nebraska.

The Nebraska Department of Economic Development and state Rural Development Commission oversees the grants, which are designed to encourage innovation and new agricultural businesses.

Recipients have to match at least part of the grant with their own money.

One of the biggest grants of $75,000 will go to Welsch's Bale in a Bag to help the business buy a new hay dryer.

Another big grant of $75,000 will go to the Grassland Dairy to help it build a cheese and butter processing facility.

The South Platte Valley Grape Growers Association plans to use its $72,500 grant to buy a mechanical grape harvester.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.