Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure Grant Funding Available for Washington State

Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) has received funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to support the one-time-only Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure Program (RFSI). WSDA has $7.32 million in federal funding available for infrastructure grants ranging from $100,000 to $3,000,000. Applications for infrastructure projects are due July 15th, 2024.

 

The purpose of this program is to strengthen local food system infrastructure in Washington state by building resilience in the middle of the supply chain, create new revenue streams for the state's producers, and support the development and expansion of local and regional food production and distribution networks. Grants will go towards Washington food and farm businesses and other eligible Washington entities.

 

Who is eligible to apply?

  • Agricultural producers or processors, or groups of agricultural producers and processors.
  • Nonprofit organizations operating middle-of-the-supply-chain activities such as processing, aggregation, and distribution of targeted agricultural products.
  • For-profit entities operating middle-of-the-supply-chain activities such as processing, aggregation, or distribution of targeted agricultural products, whose activities are primarily focused for the benefit of local and regional producers, and that meet the eligibility requirements of the SBA small business size standards are eligible.
  • Local government entities operating middle-of-the-supply-chain activities such as processing, aggregation, distribution of targeted agricultural products.
  • Tribal governments operating middle-of-the-supply-chain activities such as processing, aggregation, distribution of targeted agricultural products.
  • 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 such as processing, aggregation, distribution of targeted agricultural products.

 

All applicant businesses and organizations must be domestically owned, and applicants’ facilities must be physically located within the state of Washington.

 

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.

  • Packaging, including grading, sorting, and labeling; Processing, canning, preserving, or pasteurizing crops; Extraction of juice, oil, nut meat, etc. from crops;
  • Processing crops, such as chopping, washing, peeling, drying, hulling, milling, shelling, etc.;
  • Creating value-added products via cooking, baking, juicing, fermenting, distilling, etc.;
  • Processes or activities involving tracking, storage, cold storage, warehouse, and/or distribution of crops and/or products;
  • Enhancing worker safety and/or education in the above or similar activities; or
  • Modernizing, developing, or expanding equipment or facilities used for the above or similar activities.

 

What are the program priorities?

  • Projects submitted directly by growers, producers, processors, shippers, etc. that support middle-of-the-supply-chain activities.
  • Projects that benefit one or more of the following:
    • Historically underserved farmers as defined by USDA;
    • Socially disadvantaged farmers as defined by AB 1348, the Farmer Equity Act of 2017;
    • Agricultural operations that qualify as small disadvantaged businesses, women-owned businesses, or veteran-owned businesses as defined by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
  • Projects that expand capacity for processing, aggregation, and distribution of agricultural products to create more and better markets for producers;
  • Construction and infrastructure projects that demonstrate feasibility that the projects can reasonably be completed within the grant duration;
  • Projects that modernize manufacturing, tracking, storage, and information technology systems;
  • Projects that improve the capacity of entities to comply with federal, state, and local food safety requirements;
  • Projects that modernize or expand an existing facility (including expansion and modifications to existing buildings and/or construction of new buildings at existing facilities);
  • Projects focused on the construction of wastewater management structures and other similar infrastructure;
  • Projects that modernize processing and manufacturing equipment; and
  • Projects that develop, customize, or install equipment that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, increases efficiency in water use, improves air and/or water quality, and/or aligns with one or more of USDA’s Action Plan for Climate Adaptation and Resilience proposed adaptation actions.

 

What are the match requirements?

Infrastructure grant recipients are required to contribute a match amount toward project costs of 50% of the total proposed grant award amount. This is a requirement associated with the federal funding used in this program. For historically underserved farmers and ranchers, or for other businesses that qualify under SBA categories of small disadvantaged business, including women-owned small business and veteran-owned small business, the required match funding contribution or cost share for the project is reduced to 25% of the award amount. Applicants must self-certify in their RFSI grant applications that they are eligible if they wish to take advantage of this reduced match percentage.

 

What is the timeline for this grant opportunity?

Applications are due July 15, 2024 by 5pm PST and will be awarded late summer 2024. Projects can begin in September 2024 and must be completed by May 15, 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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