WASHINGTON, Nov. 22, 2023 -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service today announced it has a cooperative agreement with New Mexico under the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure Program (RFSI). Through this agreement, USDA and the New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA) are working together to offer over $3.7 million in competitive grant funding for projects designed to build resilience across the middle of the supply chain. NMDA is accepting applications for this Infrastructure Grant funding through December 31, 2023.
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 NMDA 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, NMDA will fund projects that support growth and address current challenges within the middle of the state’s food supply chain. Funded projects will also increase opportunities for more value-added products to diversify offerings and extend availability, implement sustainable agricultural practices and climate smart technologies, bring food closer to where it is ultimately consumed, and provide hunger relief efforts for food insecure New Mexicans. The state’s priorities are informed by stakeholder engagement and outreach to underserved producers to better understand their needs.
“The New Mexico agriculture industry’s infrastructure priorities focus on modernizing equipment and facilities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and ensure worker safety, food availability, food safety and efficient water use. Based on producers’ input, it’s critical that we expand processing capacities, packaging and labeling, tracking systems, information technology and increase access to training on specialized equipment,” said New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte. “Prioritizing RFSI grant funding in these ways helps ensure that we’re thoroughly investing in local producers’ abilities to support New Mexico’s food system, diversify it and bring sustainable agricultural practices closer to where food is ultimately consumed.”
Those interested in receiving a subaward should apply directly through the New Mexico Department of Agriculture by December 31, 2023. 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, NMDA 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.
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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