State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today announced that the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets is eligible to receive nearly $20 million through a new United States Department of Agriculture and Markets (USDA) grant opportunity. Funds through the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure Program (RFSI) will be used to provide grants for infrastructure projects that expand capacity, create new markets for the state’s producers and food processors, and strengthen the New York food system.
Commissioner Ball said, “The Department is looking forward to applying to the USDA to access nearly $20 million through the agency’s Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure Program. With this funding, we would have an opportunity to make a real impact on the resilience of our food system, focusing on the middle-of-the-supply-chain specifically, to modernize and support construction of agricultural facilities, improve training, support the purchase of new equipment, and so much more. We look forward to a robust response from the agricultural community and invite everyone to provide input as we develop our application for this grant program.”
Funding from this program would support projects that expand capacity and infrastructure for the aggregation, processing, manufacturing, storing, transporting, wholesaling, or distribution of targeted local and regional agricultural products.
Eligible projects may include, but are not limited to:
- Expand capacity for processing, aggregation and distribution of agricultural products to create more and better markets for producers;
- Modernize manufacturing, tracking, storage, and information technology systems;
- Enhance worker safety through adoption of new technologies or investment in equipment or facility improvements;
- Improve the capacity of entities to comply with federal, state, and local food safety requirements;
- Improve operations through training opportunities;
- Support construction of a new facility;
- Modernize or expand an existing facility (including expansion and modifications to existing buildings and/ or construction of new buildings at existing facilities);
- Construction of wastewater management structures, etc.;
- Modernize processing and manufacturing equipment; and
- Develop, customize, or install equipment that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, increases efficiency in water use, improves air and/or water quality, and/or meets one or more of USDA’s climate action goals.
Open Comment Period and Webinars
As the Department develops this program for approval by USDA, it is conducting outreach to food system stakeholders through an open comment period and a series of webinars. The information gathered will help the Department to better access the priorities and needs for these types of grants in New York. The public comment period will open on July 13 through July 28. Industry producers and stakeholders can provide feedback through this comment form and/or register to join a stakeholder discussion group.
Webinars for interested parties to learn more about this grant opportunity and to provide feedback are scheduled as follows:
- Open webinar: Thursday, July 13, 2:00 - 3:30 p.m.
- Agricultural producer group organizations and agricultural cooperatives: Monday, July 24, 3:00 - 4:30 p.m.
- Processor/ distributor stakeholder webinar: Tuesday, July 25, 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
- Technical Service providers/ organizations serving historically underserved producers: Tuesday, July 25, 2:00 - 3:30 p.m.
About the RFSI
The purpose of the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure (RFSI) program is to build resilience in the middle of the food supply chain, to provide more and better markets to small farms and food businesses, to support the development of value-added products for consumers, fair prices, fair wages, and new and safe job opportunities.
The USDA is entering into cooperative agreements with states across the country to provide up to $420 million of American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding. The goal of the program is to keep profits circulating in rural communities and increase diversity in processing options in terms of business model approaches, geography, and availability to underserved communities.