Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure Grant Program Released in New York

New York State’s Department of Agriculture and Markets is accepting applications for the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure (RFSI) grant program with a focus on enhancing, growing, and improving the mid-channel of the food supply chain. RFSI Infrastructure Grant Applications are due on June 28th, 2024. A separate Request for Applications (RFA) will be released for Equipment-only Grants in 2025, as detailed below.    

 

What is the purpose of RFSI?

RFSI investments aim to create a food systems infrastructure to support competitive and profitable market access for New York farm products. RFSI serves as an important component of USDA’s framework to transform the food system to benefit consumers, producers, and rural communities by providing more options, increasing access, and creating new, more, and better markets for small and mid-size producers.

 

Who is eligible to apply? The RFSI program will make infrastructure awards to businesses and organizations operating in the middle-of-the-supply chain. This includes the following:

  • New York State agricultural producers or processors, or groups of agricultural producers and processors
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Local government entities
  • Tribal governments
  • Institutions such as schools, universities, or hospitals bringing producers together to establish cooperative or shared infrastructure or invest in equipment that will benefit multiple producers middle-of-the-supply-chain activities.

 

All applicant businesses and organizations must be physically located in New York State and domestically owned.

 

What types of activities are eligible for this program? Middle-of-the-supply-chain activities refers to activities in the processing and/or aggregation and distribution stages. Some examples of activities are listed below.

  • Hiring term-limited personnel to assist with project implementation activities;
  • Purchasing special purpose equipment. This includes the purchase of special purpose equipment for institutions or others that will benefit multiple producers through middle-of-the-supply-chain activities such as processing, aggregation, distribution of targeted agricultural product;
  • Analyzing potential facility upgrades and changes that meet regulatory requirements, obtaining design and/or architecture services, etc. (to the extent these costs are directly related to the project);
  • Planning for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) or other food safety or worker safety measures or equipment recommendations; and
  • Upgrades or new facilities for processing specific agricultural products, such as:
    • On-farm post-harvest processing, preservation, and storage/cold storage;
    • Post-harvest cleaning and grading;
    • Aggregator warehouse and storage, including cooperatives;
    • Purchase of freezing equipment, freezer, or cold storage;
    • Processing, canning, preserving and pasteurization;
    • Preparation and packing;
    • Drying, hulling, shelling, and milling; and

Cooking, baking, juicing, distilling, fermenting.

 

What are the RFSI project types, funding amounts and match requirements?

The RFSI is comprised of two different project types: Infrastructure Grants and Simplified Equipment-Only Grants.

 

Infrastructure Grants will fund projects that expand capacity and infrastructure for the aggregation, processing, manufacturing, storing, transporting, wholesaling, or distribution of targeted agricultural products.

  • The minimum award amount for the Infrastructure Grants is $100,000 and the maximum award amount is $3,000,000.
  • Infrastructure Grant recipients are required to contribute 50 percent of the total proposed project cost as a match to federal funding. This applies to all applicants except those who qualify for the reduced match described below. For historically underserved farmers and ranchers, or for other businesses that qualify under U.S. Small Business Administration categories of disadvantaged small business, women-owned small business, or veteran-owned small business, the required match funding contribution or cost share is reduced to 25 percent of the project cost. Applicants must self-certify in their Infrastructure Grant applications as being eligible for this reduced match.

 

Equipment-Only option is a Fixed Price Grant, meaning it will fund only equipment purchases (and not associated facility upgrades, staffing, or other costs), and the equipment must be used for post-harvest aggregation, processing, packing, or distribution of eligible agricultural products. No match is required for this grant type. These awards will be $10,000 - $100,000.

 

Equipment- only grants will be launched after the Infrastructure Grant Program. Applications for Equipment Only grants will open in 2025 and will undergo a separate application process. Additional information will be available soon.

 

What are the program priorities?

The following priorities have been identified to meet the current needs of New York's agricultural supply chain and address areas that can lead to a more resilient food system:

  • Support infrastructure development to expand business' capacity for processing, aggregation, storage and distribution.
  • Target development of infrastructure projects to the dairy, fruit and vegetable, and organic industries to support the development of new value-added products.
  • Create greater market access to intermediaries such as food hubs, aggregators, wholesalers, and distributors with the goal of increasing local food sales to institutions such as schools, hospitals, and correctional facilities.

 

What is the timeline for this grant opportunity?

Applications are due on June 28, 2024 by 5pm ET and will be awarded in late summer 2024. Projects must begin in the fall of 2024 with an end date no later than February 27, 2027.

 

The full Request for Applications (RFA) can be found here.

 

For more information on this grant or how to apply with Morrison’s assistance, please contact the Morrison Grants Team by email at grants@morrisonco.net or call us at 530-893-4764.

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