Global Agriculture

USDA Partners with Maine to Award Nearly $4 Million to Strengthen Food Supply Chain Infrastructure

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02 April 2024, US: The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) today announced it has a cooperative agreement with Maine under the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure Program (RFSI). Through this agreement, USDA and Maine are working together to offer nearly $4 million in competitive grant funding for projects designed to build resilience across the middle of the supply chain. Maine is accepting applications for this Infrastructure Grant funding through April 29, 2024. Applications for the RFSI simplified equipment-only grants will be accepted in the fall of 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 Maine 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 Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) will fund projects that will achieve on-farm facility infrastructure improvements to resolve middle-of-the-supply-chain challenges for Maine agricultural products, and support processing, packaging, storage, and distribution improvements. The state’s priorities are informed by stakeholder engagement and outreach to underserved producers to better understand their needs.

“These funds will bolster resilience within the food supply chain, ultimately fostering expanded markets for small farms and food businesses,” said DACF Commissioner Amanda Beal. “The initiative aims to help Maine food producers create more products, reach more consumers, and generally expand the number of people eating Maine food—both at home and around the world.”

Those interested in receiving a subaward should visit the Maine RFSI webpage. Applications are being accepted through April 29, 2024. AMS encourages applications that serve smaller farms, new and beginning farmers, underserved producers, veteran producers, and underserved communities.

Also Read: India Produces 683 Million Tonnes (MT) of Crop Waste, FSII Calls for Action on International Day of Zero Waste

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