WASHINGTON, Nov. 20, 2023 -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service today announced it has a cooperative agreement with Alabama under the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure Program (RFSI). Through this agreement, USDA and Alabama are working together to offer over $5.7 million in competitive grant funding for projects designed to build resilience across the middle of the supply chain. Alabama is accepting applications for this Infrastructure Grant funding through January 15, 2024.
In May 2023, USDA announced the availability of up to $420 million through RFSI to strengthen local and regional food systems. Through this program, AMS has entered into cooperative agreements with state agencies, commissions, or departments responsible for agriculture, commercial food processing, seafood, or food system and distribution activities or commerce activities in states or U.S. territories. RFSI is authorized by the American Rescue Plan.
“This partnership between USDA and Alabama is allowing critical funding to reach areas of the supply chain that need it most,” said USDA Marketing and Regulatory Programs Under Secretary Jenny Lester Moffitt. “The projects funded through this program will create new opportunities for the region’s small and mid-size producers to thrive, expand access to nutritious food options, and increase supply chain resiliency.”
Using RFSI funding, Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI) will fund projects that strengthen the state’s food supply chain through increasing community-based value-added processing, storage, and distribution. ADAI will also fund projects for the construction, expansion, and modernization of supply chain facilities as well as projects that increase local food supply to school systems and grocery stores. The state’s priorities were identified through surveys and outreach to stakeholders, underserved producers and communities, to better understand their needs.
“We see the RFSI program as a win-win, as it bridges the gap in the middle of the food supply chain. It will help farmers with direct consumer sales by providing funding for processing, storing, transporting and distributing their farm fresh products,” said Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries Rick Pate.
Those interested in receiving a subaward should apply directly through ADAI by January 15, 2024. AMS encourages applications that serve smaller farms and ranches, new and beginning farmers and ranchers, underserved producers, veteran producers, and/or underserved communities.
In addition to the Infrastructure Grant funding, ADAI will be using up to $158,000 to support supply chain coordination and technical assistance to farmers and food businesses operating in processing, aggregation and distribution—all critical activities to support access to more and better markets for farmers.
For more information, visit the AMS Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure webpage.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.
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