February 29, 2024

Interpretive Summary: USDA funds programs to increase food supply chain resiliency

USDA funds programs to increase food supply chain resiliency 

By: Sydney Sheffield 

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has granted over $270 of funding in partnership with state departments of agriculture, to build resilience across the middle of the food supply chain and strengthen local and regional food systems. The funding is being awarded through the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure program which is administered by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). 

“These unprecedented investments into our nation’s supply chain infrastructure will not only benefit consumers by ensuring they have dependable access to fresh and locally produced food, but the investments will also benefit producers and rural communities by providing more options and creating more, new and better markets for small and mid-size producers,” USDA Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said

Secretary Vilsack announced Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Louisiana, Utah, and West Virginia have now opened their Request for Applications for the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure program, joining the 28 states that are already offering grant funding for projects that support supply chain infrastructure. The newly added states will fund projects that expand capacity for the aggregation, processing, manufacturing, storing, transporting, wholesaling, and distribution of food products. This can include specialty crops, dairy, grains, aquaculture, and more, but excluding meat and poultry. 

The USDA announced the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure program in May 2023, to create food systems infrastructure to support competitive and profitable market access for domestic farm products and create more economic opportunities for communities, allowing them to retain more of the value chain dollar. The program is also supporting the creation of new, safe job opportunities with fair wages that keep profits within rural communities. The Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure program is authorized by the American Rescue Plan.

Currently, there is $230 million available in Infrastructure Grant funding across the country. Through a competitive grant process, states and territories will issue sub-awards of Infrastructure Grants to agricultural producers or processors, nonprofit organizations, local government entities, tribal governments, and institutions such as schools, universities, or hospitals. In addition to Infrastructure Grants, some states will use funding to support supply chain coordination and technical assistance to increase resiliency within the food system.

“USDA also recognizes that the work through the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure program is made possible by the strong partnerships we maintain with state agricultural agencies,” Vilsack said. 

Learn more about the program here