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USDA Partners with Puerto Rico to Award Over $3.5 Million to Strengthen Food Supply Chain Infrastructure

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) today announced it has a cooperative agreement with Puerto Rico under the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure Program (RFSI). Through this agreement, USDA and Puerto Rico are working together to offer over $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, 2024.

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. 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 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 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 expand processing capacity, support new wholesale products lines, increase packaging and labeling capacities, increase cold storage, and purchase specialized equipment and delivery vehicles. The island’s priorities are informed by stakeholder engagement and outreach to underserved producers to better understand their needs.

“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. 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,” said Puerto Rico Agriculture Department Secretary, Ramón González Beiró.

Those interested in receiving a subaward should apply directly through the Puerto Rico Department of Agriculture by June 30, 2024. AMS encourages applications that serve smaller farms and ranches, new and beginning farmers and ranchers, underserved producers, veteran producers, and underserved communities.

Source : usda.gov

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