New Jersey Joins USDA Initiative for a Regional Food Business Center in the Northeast
New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher announced that the state's Department of Agriculture will partner with the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) Foundation in a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) initiative to support farmers and food businesses. The USDA has awarded the NASDA Foundation $38.4 million to establish a Regional Food Business Center, which will serve the agricultural industry in 11 states across the Northeast.
This initiative will help farmers and food businesses access new markets and utilize federal, state, and local resources, such as technical assistance and funding opportunities. The program aims to expand agricultural production and processing, increase the amount of regionally grown products, create new products, encourage the development of food hubs, and strengthen the food supply chain. The center will also focus on outreach and inclusion of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities in the agricultural industry.
The USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will provide a minimum funding allocation of $2 million for all states, regardless of size or production. Infrastructure Grant applicants can apply for a minimum of $100,000 and a maximum of $3 million.
In addition to New Jersey, the Northeast service area includes Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Delaware, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Maryland. The program is part of the USDA's creation of 12 new Regional Food Business Centers across the U.S., which will help farmers, ranchers, and other food businesses access new markets and navigate federal, state, and local resources for success.
The USDA has allocated a total of $420 million for the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure Program (RFSI). For more information about the program, visit https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/grants/rfsi.