Specialty Crops in Nebraska


Specialty crops are defined by the USDA as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and nursery crops. There are numerous small scale commercial vegetable and fruit operations targeted at farmer’s markets that are important seasonal sources of income for producers located near urban centers.

However, those specialty crops of the greatest significance to the economy of the state include field crops grown directly for food (animal and human) or oils. These crops are concentrated in the western half of the state, particularly the region referred as the Panhandle. The Panhandle is noted for sugar beets, dry edible beans, sunflowers, and potatoes under irrigated production. Newly emerging crops also in this category include chickpeas, chicory, edible amaranths, and various oil-seed crops being tested as potential sources of bio-fuels including canola, brown mustard, and camelina. Proso millet and sunflowers also have significant production under dry-land conditions as well.