This week USDA announced its plans for shoring up the food supply chain and transforming our food system to be fairer, more competitive, and more resilient during times of crisis. The framework aims to touch all areas of the supply chain, from producers all the way to consumers and is most likely to impact producers in the areas of production and processing. Specific programs and funding related to production and processing include:
- $200 million for Food Safety Certification for Specialty Crops Program. This program is designed to offset compliance costs of regulatory requirements and market-driven food safety certification requirements. Funds will be available to specialty crop operations that incur eligible on-farm food safety program expenses.
- Up to $600 million in financial assistance to support food supply chain infrastructure. This Program is aimed at infrastructure such as cold storage, refrigerated trucks, and processing facilities. Funds will address limited processing, distribution, storage, and aggregation capacity for a variety of food sectors.
- Up to $300 million in a new Organic Transition Initiative to support farmers shifting to organic production. Funds will go towards technical assistance, such as farmer-to-farmer mentoring and conservation financial assistance and additional crop insurance assistance and support market development projects in targeted markets
- Up to $75 million to support urban agriculture. Funds will be dispersed in the form of grants that support urban agriculture. The goal is that funds will increase access to nutritious foods, increase awareness of climate change and mitigate the effects within urban areas, provide jobs, educate communities about farming, and expand green spaces.
- $400 million to create regional food business centers. The centers will provide coordination, technical assistance, and capacity building support to small and mid-size food and farm businesses.
Learn more about the framework and allotted funding for additional areas here.
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