USDA partners with North Carolina to strengthen food supply chain infrastructure

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USDA partners with North Carolina to strengthen food supply chain infrastructure

Press Release (USDA) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) today announced it has a cooperative agreement with North Carolina under the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure Program (RFSI). Through this agreement, USDA and North Carolina are working together to offer over $6.2 million in competitive grant funding for projects designed to build resilience across the middle of the supply chain. North Carolina is accepting applications for this Infrastructure Grant funding beginning May 1, 2024, through June 15, 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 North Carolina 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 North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) will fund projects that expand on-farm cold storage and packaging capacity, implement post-harvest handling, provide refrigerated trucks, and expand aggregator facilities. The state’s priorities are informed by stakeholder engagement and outreach to underserved producers to better understand their needs.

“We are excited to leverage this $6.2 million in federal funding to improve the food supply chain for consumers, agribusinesses and farmers,” said North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Specifically, this program will better position produce, dairy products, eggs, aquaculture and value-added products produced in our state and will offer additional opportunities for profitability.”

Those interested in receiving a subaward should apply directly through NCDA&CS. Applications will be accepted beginning May 1, 2024, through June 15, 2024. AMS encourages applications that serve smaller farms and ranches, new and beginning farmers and ranchers, underserved producers, veteran producers, and underserved communities.

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