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Grants to bolster food supply chain infrastructure

The deadline to apply for the USDA grants is June 17.

May 24, 2024

2 Min Read
People in hair nets and white coats working in a food processing plant
GRANT APPLICATION: MDARD is accepting applications for RFSI grant funding through June 17. Juan Silva/Getty Images

Building resilience across the middle of Michigan’s food supply chain is the goal of a recently announced USDA Agricultural Marketing Service $8 million grant.

In a cooperative agreement with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development under the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure Program, MDARD 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.

MDARD is accepting applications for RFSI grant funding through June 17. Nationally, USDA announced the availability of up to $420 million through RFSI to strengthen local and regional food systems.

“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,” said Jenny Lester Moffit, USDA marketing and regulatory programs undersecretary.

Using RFSI funding, MDARD will fund projects supporting expanded capacity for the aggregation, processing, manufacturing, storing, transporting, wholesaling, and distribution of locally and regionally produced food products — including specialty crops, dairy products, grains for human consumption, aquaculture and other food products, excluding meat and poultry.

Working with stakeholders, MDARD has identified the below program priorities within Michigan. The review panel will evaluate projects based on the following criteria and priority areas.

Projects that will:

  • Expand capacity for processing, aggregation, and distribution of agricultural products to create more and better markets for producers.

  • Modernize manufacturing, tracking, storage and information technology systems.

  • Modernize or expand an existing facility (including expansion and modifications to existing buildings or construction of new buildings at existing facilities).

  • Support construction of a new facility.

  • Modernize processing and manufacturing equipment.

Projects that benefit:

  • underserved farmers and ranchers

  • new and beginning farmers or ranchers

  • processors and other middle-of-the-supply businesses owned by socially disadvantaged individuals

  • veteran producers

Projects that enhance:

  • Focus on small and medium-sized enterprises that add options and choices for consumers and producers (emphasis on value-added).

  • Demonstrate local support for the project.

  • Offer family-supporting job quality and treatment and safety of workers.

  • Support underserved communities.

  • Are submitted by cooperatives, farmer- and worker-owned enterprises.

Project goals that prioritize the following markets:

  • specialty markets or stores

  • farmers markets

  • restaurants

  • corner stores

  • distributors (receives produce and sells to retail, restaurants, and other manufacturers)

  • direct to end consumer sales such as on farm sales, CSAs, home delivery and online sales

Those interested in receiving a subaward should apply directly through MDARD’s MiAgGrants Grants Management System by June 17. 

For more information, visit the USDA-AMS Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure webpage.

Source: MDARD

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