(1) The Department of Agriculture shall establish an agriculture promotion and development program. The department shall employ a program director and one specialist in research techniques and market development. Both individuals shall report directly to the Director of Agriculture.
(2) The program shall concentrate on the identification and development of opportunities to enhance profitability in agriculture and to stimulate agriculture-related economic development. Program activities may include, but not be limited to, (a) promotion and market development, (b) value-added processing of alternative and traditional commodities, (c) agricultural diversification, including poultry development and aquaculture, (d) agricultural cooperatives, and (e) alternative crops.
(3) The Department of Agriculture shall serve as the facilitator, coordinator, and catalyst for developments through and with the Nebraska Food Processing Center, the Cooperative Extension Service of the University of Nebraska, the commodity boards, the Department of Economic Development, other state agencies, the United States Department of Agriculture grant programs, and the private sector. It is the intent of the Legislature that the department foster close working relationships between production agriculture and existing programs for the purposes of agricultural development and promotion. The department may enter into such contracts as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this section.
(4) For purposes of this section, unless the context otherwise requires, private sector includes, but is not limited to, representatives of food industry associations, lenders, or venture capital groups.