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USDA, state offer grants to aid food supply chain

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service and the state of Alabama are partnering to help protect the state’s food supply chain.

To accomplish the task, they will award some $5.7 million in grants for supply chain-oriented projects through the federal Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure Program.

“This partnership between USDA and Alabama 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 mid-size producers to thrive, expand access to nutritious food options, and increase supply chain resiliency.”

The federal program is seen as a bridge for the food supply chain.

“We see the RFSI program as a win-win, as it bridges the gap in the middle of the food supply chain,” Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries Rick Pate said. “It will help farmers with direct consumer sales by providing funding for processing, storing, transporting and distributing their farm fresh products.”

To apply for a grant, visit https://agi.alabama.gov/rfsip/. The deadline is Jan. 15. The owners/operators of smaller farms and ranches, new and beginning farmers and ranchers, underserved producers, veteran producers, and/or underserved communities are urged to apply.

In May 2023, the USDA announced the availability of up to $420 million through the RFSI to strengthen local and regional food systems. Through the RFSI, AMS has entered into cooperative agreements with state agencies, commissions, departments responsible for agriculture, commercial food processors, seafood processors, food system and distribution activities, and commerce activities in states or U.S. territories.

Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.

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