USDA, Oklahoma awarding over $6.3m to strengthen food supply chain

Source: Farm Progress. The original article is posted here.

USDA, Oklahoma awarding over $6.3m to strengthen food supply chain
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced that it has reached an agreement with Oklahoma under the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure Program (RFSI cooperative). Through the agreement, USDA and Oklahoma are working together to offer over $6.3 million in competitive grant funding for projects designed to build resilience across the middle of the supply chain.

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.

“This partnership between USDA and Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry (ODAFF) will support middle-of-the-supply-chain operations to create more economic opportunities for the state’s producers, allowing them to be more profitable. Funded projects will increase cold storage, expand distribution channels for food producers, and increase the number of co-packing options.

“We're excited the RFSI Program will provide a new opportunity for the many people and businesses responsible for helping feed, fuel and clothe the world. This program should be a great resource for Oklahoma producers while also helping to benefit our food supply chain,” said Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture Blayne Arthur.

ODAFF Market Development Coordinator Jason Harvey said the grants will be awarded through a competitive review process.

“Strong proposals should look to create more diverse local and regional market options,” Harvey said. “The funding will create more economic opportunities for communities by creating new revenue streams for producers in Oklahoma.”

Two types of grants will be offered under the RFSI program: Infrastructure Grants and Equipment-Only Grants.

Infrastructure Grants will range from a minimum of $100,000 to a maximum of $1,000,000 and must be completed in two years. Equipment-Only Grants will range in value from a minimum award of $10,000 and a maximum award of $100,000.

Oklahoma is accepting applications for this Infrastructure Grant funding through Feb. 23, 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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