WASHINGTON, Jan. 31, 2024 -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) today announced it has a cooperative agreement with Minnesota under the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure Program (RFSI). Through this agreement, USDA and Minnesota are working together to offer over $9.5 million in competitive grant funding for projects designed to build resilience across the middle of the supply chain. Minnesota is accepting applications for this Infrastructure Grant funding through April 3, 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. Updates for each state’s Request for Applications for the RFSI program are available on the AMS website.
“This partnership between USDA and Minnesota 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 midsize producers to thrive, expand access to nutritious food options, and increase supply chain resiliency.”
Using RFSI funding, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture will increase resilience in the state’s food system by creating more and better supply chain options for local and regional producers. Funded projects will focus on the construction and improvement of supply chain facilities; more options for aggregation, processing, storage, and distribution of locally produced food; increased knowledge and skills for food businesses thanks to direct technical assistance; and more market opportunities for local and regional producers. The state’s priorities are informed by stakeholder engagement and outreach to underserved producers to better understand their needs.
“The RFSI program will allow us to strengthen Minnesota’s food supply chain infrastructure and increase market opportunities for producers, bolster support for our food businesses, and expand consumer access to locally grown and produced foods,” said Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen. “We thank USDA for their partnership, and we look forward to working with grant recipients to build resilient local and regional food systems that benefit producers and consumers across the state.”
Those interested in receiving a subaward should apply directly through the Minnesota Department of Agriculture by April 3, 2024. AMS encourages applications that serve smaller farms and ranches, new and beginning farmers and ranchers, underserved producers, veteran producers, and underserved communities.
Through the program and in addition to the Infrastructure Grant funding, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture will 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.
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