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USDA, local gov’t to award $3.5M+ to boost food supply chain projects

Puerto Rico is accepting applications for this Infrastructure Grant funding through June 30

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has announced it has a cooperative agreement with Puerto Rico under the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure Program (RFSI) to offer more than $3.5 million in competitive grant funding for projects designed to build resilience across the middle of the supply chain.

Puerto Rico is accepting applications for this infrastructure grant funding through June 30.

In May 2023, the USDA announced the availability of up to $420 million through RFSI to strengthen local and regional food systems. AMS has entered into cooperative agreements with state agencies, commissions or departments involved in agriculture, commercial food processing, seafood, or food system and distribution activities across 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 Puerto Rico is allowing critical funding to reach areas of the supply chain that need it most,” said Jenny Lester Moffitt, under secretary of the USDA’s Marketing and Regulatory Programs.

“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,” she added.

With RFSI funding, the Puerto Rico Department of Agriculture will bolster the island’s agricultural infrastructure with an emphasis on establishing advanced industrial processing facilities.

The department will fund projects that increase processing capacity, support new wholesale products lines, increase packaging and labeling capacities, expand cold storage, and purchase specialized equipment and delivery vehicles.

Stakeholder engagement and outreach to underserved producers have shaped the island’s priorities, helping to tailor support to their needs, the USDA said.

“Alongside the federal government, we are providing our farmers with the greatest tools and economic resources, which is crucial to ensure an effective agricultural operation,” said Ramón González, the Puerto Rico Agriculture Department’s secretary.

“This helps us guarantee that we will have the largest quantity of local products. By investing in innovative projects through our programs, we offer them greater growth opportunities,” he said.

Interested parties should apply directly through the Puerto Rico Department of Agriculture by June 30.

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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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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