The Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) announced today it has a cooperative agreement with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) under the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure Program (RFSI). Through this agreement, the two entities are working together to offer over $6.7 million in competitive grant funding for projects designed to build resilience across the middle of the supply chain.
“These grants are critical to ensuring the security of our food supply,” said Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, Indiana’s Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development. “Federal partners like USDA-AMS are a wonderful asset to Indiana and to agriculture. I am excited to see Hoosier businesses expand with these grants.”
The purpose of this program is to improve food supply resilience in the middle of the food chain through increasing distribution, aggregation, storage capacity, market expansion and facility updates/expansions. Following federal guidance, the project performance period will be June 2024 through May 2027. Applicants must demonstrate how this project will improve resilience in the middle of the food chain.
“Our Hoosier farmers, producers, agribusinesses and consumers need a steady food supply chain system. We are grateful that USDA recognized this need in Indiana and across the country and continue to work with us to enhance our middle of the food chain businesses,” said Don Lamb, Indiana State Department of Agriculture director. “These grants will go a long way in ensuring rural vitality and success for our small and mid-sized producers, processors as well as Hoosier consumers.”
WHO IS ELIGIBLE:
Indiana businesses and producers that work in the middle of the food chain sector, defined as “from the farm gate to the end retail market” or the processing and aggregation/distribution sector of the food chain. Eligible product ideas could include, but are not limited to, creating a produce packing line, value added dairy and egg products, establishing/expanding a co-packing facility or building a commercial kitchen.
WHO IS INELIGIBLE:
Products including meat, poultry, wild-caught seafood, dietary supplements and food for animal consumption do not qualify in this program. Businesses may have the above listed product lines, but grant funds cannot be used to benefit these products. All for profit businesses must qualify as a small business by the Small Business Administration standards.
ELIGIBLE EXPENSES MAY INCLUDE, BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO:
- Purchase/upgrade of equipment, infrastructure and technology – including installation;
- Construction of a new facility or expansion of current facilities;
- Increasing storage space – including cold storage, addition of new product lines;
- Increasing packaging and labeling capabilities; and
- Facility upgrades for climate-smart equipment.
“This partnership between USDA and Indiana 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.”
Applications will open on Jan. 29, 2024 and will be due to ISDA on March 8, 2024 by 12:00 pm (noon) EST. Those interested in receiving a subaward should apply directly through ISDA by March 8, 2024. Links to technical assistance webinars, application materials and additional resources can all be found at ISDA.in.gov. AMS encourages applications that serve smaller farms and ranches, new and beginning farmers and ranchers, underserved producers, veteran producers, female producers and underserved communities.
Through the program and in addition to the Infrastructure Grant funding, ISDA will support supply chain coordination and technical assistance to farmers and food businesses operating in processing, aggregation and distribution—all critical activities to support access to more and better markets for farmers.
For details about a virtual Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure grant overview on Jan. 24 from 3-4 p.m. or for more information, visit isda.in.gov.