On Oct. 31, 2022, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) extended the deadline for the Request for Applications (RFA) for funding for Regional Food Business Centers to Dec. 15, 2022. USDA also issued an updated RFA (pdf) and application documents to clarify role types (Lead Applicant, Key Partners, and Collaborators) and document requirements. Applicants who have already begun writing their applications should review the updated RFA and make any revisions that may be necessary.
The Regional Food Business Centers will provide coordination, technical assistance, and capacity building to help farmers, ranchers, and other food businesses access new markets and navigate federal, state and local resources, thereby closing the gaps or barriers to success. The Regional Food Business Centers will assist small and mid-sized producers and food and farm businesses with the goal of creating a more resilient, diverse, and competitive food system.
AMS is soliciting applications from organizations across the nation to develop the Regional Food Business Centers that will be geographically based, serving regional needs. Applicants must define the regions that their proposed Regional Food Business Center will serve, specifying high-needs priority areas within that region. USDA intends to serve each of the following priority areas by establishing at least one Regional Food Business Center in:
- National Tribal Center
- Colonias (counties on the US/ Mexico border)
- Persistent poverty or other communities of high need/limited resources areas of the Delta and the Southeast High need areas of Appalachia
USDA intends to fund at least six Regional Food Business Centers which includes two additional centers that will serve areas outside the ones listed above.
Applications must be submitted electronically through www.grants.gov by 11:59 p.m. ET on Dec. 15, 2022.
Applicants need to review their in-progress applications to ensure that they reflect the RFA clarifications. To receive funding, the applications will undergo an administrative review to ensure the proposed activities fulfill the purpose of Regional Food Business Centers. Applications received after this deadline will not be considered for funding.
USDA is seeking application reviewers for the Regional Food Business Centers. A link to submit interest in becoming an application reviewer will be posted on the website soon.
For more information visit the Regional Food Business Centers Program webpage, join our weekly “office hours” every Wednesday afternoon at 4:00 ET (registration link is on the website), or contact us at RegionalFoodCenters@usda.gov.
To learn more about grant funding opportunities to enhance and strengthen agricultural systems, visit the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service’s Grants and Opportunities webpage.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender