How do I apply for the USDA Regional Food Business Centers Program?

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 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.

When can I submit an application? 

The USDA Regional Food Business Centers application period is now open. The deadline for submitting applications to AMS is January 6, 2023, at 11:59 pm EST.  Applications received after the due date will be subject to the AMS' - Policy on Late Applications. Please refer to the AMS’ Late Applications, Denials and/or Appeal Procedures (pdf) for further information.

What are the application requirements?

You can find the requirements for submitting an application in the Request for Applications.

What are the required forms?

Each application must include the following forms:

If applicable, application packages are required to include the following documents:

  • Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement

Is there anything else I need to apply?

You need to complete the following steps to apply for the cooperative agreement:

  1. Register with System for Award Management (
    1. All registrants have been assigned a Unique Entity ID (UEI) and can view them in
    2. The UEI is a 12-character alphanumeric ID assigned to an entity by  UEI replaces the DUNS number.
    3. Find more info about this transition on the GSA’s Unique Entity Identifier Update webpage.
  2. Register with Interested applicants are encouraged to register with and as soon as possible as this process can take multiple business days to complete.

To find more information on how to apply for this program through, including additional tools, tips, and trainings, go to the Applicants tab located on top of the navigation bar.

Are there any resources that can help me write an application?

  • 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 Office Hours