USDA Regional Food Business Centers
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the availability of approximately $400 million to provide essential local and regional food systems coordination, technical assistance, and capacity building services through the department’s new Regional Food Business Centers. USDA will fund at least six regional centers, to include a national tribal center and at least one center serving each of three targeted areas: Colonias (counties on the US/Mexico border), persistent poverty or other communities of high need/limited resources areas of the Delta and the Southeast, and high need areas of Appalachia as well as centers in other regions of the country.
What is the program’s purpose? The USDA Regional Food Business Centers are intended to support a more resilient, diverse, and competitive food system. Modeled after the Dairy Business Innovation (DBI) Initiative, these centers will work to expand and strengthen regional food systems networks and partnerships; increase food and farm business and finance acumen as well as market awareness and access; increase the number of new food and farm businesses and viability of existing businesses; and increase the revenue of food and farm businesses served. The Regional Food Centers will achieve these goals through coordination, technical assistance and capacity-building for small and mid-sized producers, processors, and distributors to create new and rejuvenate current linkages throughout the supply chain.
What are the anticipated funding amounts and duration? Awards are expected to range in size from $15 million to $50 million, and recipients are expected to complete their projects within the required timeframe of up to 60 months.
Who is eligible to apply? All applications to lead a Regional Food Center must come from an eligible applicant representing a partnership among three or more eligible entities representing at least two of the following eligible entity types: Producer Network or Association; Food Council; Tribal Government; State Agencies or Regional Authorities; Institutions of Higher Education; Nonprofit Corporations; Economic Development Corporations.
All applicants and eligible entities that make up the partnership must have a physical presence within, and have a history of serving, the region for which they are applying to serve as a Regional Food Center.
When is the application deadline? Applicants must submit applications electronically via Grants.gov by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on November 22, 2022. AMS encourages applicants to submit their applications at least two weeks prior to the application deadline to ensure all certifications and registrations are met.
The full Request for Applications can be found here.
Morrison has extensive experience writing successful applications for clients for USDA programs. For more information on this grant or how to apply with Morrison’s assistance, please contact the Morrison Grants Team by email at email@example.com or call us at 530-893-4764.