The application period for the USDA Regional Food Business Centers has closed.
Updated 1/17/2023 – In December 2022, the RFA deadline was extended to allow applicants to adjust proposals to allow nonprofit organizations including universities that have a Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (NICRA) to use that rate. The deadline was January 6, 2023.
Applicants may contact us at RegionalFoodCenters@usda.gov or may use the updated FAQ page to find answers to common questions.
Office Hours are held every Wednesday at 4:00pm ET. Register for office hours.
The USDA Regional Food Business Centers will support a more resilient, diverse, and competitive food system. These Regional Food Centers will support producers by providing localized assistance to access local and regional supply chains, including linking producers to wholesalers and distributors. They will provide technical assistance needed to access new markets, access to federal, state, and local resources, and will assist small- and mid-sized producers in overcoming barriers to market access, with a focus on underserved farmers, ranchers, and food businesses. No match is required.
USDA Regional Food Business Centers will have three main responsibilities:
- Coordination - The Regional Food Centers will act as regional hubs coordinating across geographic areas with USDA, other federal, state, and tribal agencies with relevant resources, regional commissions, stakeholders, and the other Regional Food Centers. They will engage with stakeholders and partners to develop and implement strategic and funding plans for serving the region through technical assistance and capacity building. They will conduct outreach to underserved communities and businesses.
- Technical Assistance - The Regional Food Centers will provide direct business technical assistance to small- and mid-sized food and farm businesses (producers, processors, aggregators, distributors, and other businesses within the food supply chain) and food value and supply chain coordination. Each Regional Food Center will identify priority areas for technical assistance (e.g., aggregation/distribution, specialty crop processing for institutions) for the region it plans to serve.
- Capacity Building – The Regional Food Centers will provide financial assistance through business builder subawards up to $100,000 to support projects focused on regional needs and businesses that are working towards expansion and other investment. These subawards may support staff time, business planning activities, software implementation, the purchase of special purpose equipment, such as food safety, processing and packaging equipment, and value chain coordination, and other expenses associated as outlined in the RFA.
If you have questions after reviewing the RFA, contact us at RegionalFoodCenters@usda.gov
- 2022 USDA Regional Food Business Centers Request for Applications (RFAs) (pdf)
The 2022 USDA Regional Food Business Centers application period is now open. Section 3.1 Eligible Entities was updated on September 27. Section 4.6.3 Indirect Costs was updated on December 9. Please refer to the How to Apply page for more information
- USDA Extends Regional Food Business Centers Request for Applications Deadline to Jan. 6, 2023
- USDA Provides Updated Information on Indirect Cost Rate in Regional Food Business Centers Request for Applications; Will extend Application Deadline
- USDA Extends Regional Food Business Centers Application Deadline to Dec. 15; Provides Details of Extension
- USDA Regional Food Business Centers FAQs
- Preguntas frecuentes de los Centros regionales de distribución de productos alimentarios del USDA
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- AMS will host weekly Office Hours to take questions about the Regional Food Business Centers. AMS is using the registration list from the Office Hour sessions to populate a shared list of organizations that are interested in partnering on applications. If you would like to join this list, you can select that option when you register for a session.
- Weekly Office Hours
- Date: Every Wednesday from October 12 through January 4
- Time: 4:00 PM Eastern Time
- Register for Weekly Office Hours
- Weekly Office Hours