10 January 2024, US: The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) today announced it has a cooperative agreement with Arkansas under the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure Program (RFSI). Through this agreement, USDA and Arkansas are working together to offer over $4.2 million in competitive grant funding for projects designed to build resilience across the middle of the supply chain. Arkansas is accepting proposals for this Infrastructure Grant funding through February 16, 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 Arkansas 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 Arkansas Department of Agriculture will expand capacity for the processing, aggregation, and distribution of agricultural products. Funded projects will also include the construction of new facilities or the updating of existing facilities or equipment as well as improving capacity to comply with food safety regulations. The state’s priorities are informed by stakeholder engagement and outreach to underserved producers to better understand their needs.
“The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is pleased to help administer the RFSI grant program and looks forward to seeing its positive impacts on our state’s largest industry,” said Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward. “These funds will strengthen Arkansas agriculture by supporting investments to enhance supply chain operations and equipping producers with tools to expand the local food system.”
Those interested in receiving a subaward should apply directly through the Arkansas Department of Agriculture by February 16, 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 Arkansas 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.
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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