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Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure Grants

The Farm and Food Growth Fund (FFGF) is the administrator for a portion of New York State’s Department of Agriculture and Markets USDA Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure (RFSI) grant program with a focus on enhancing, growing and improving the mid-channel of the food supply chain.

Funded under the American Rescue Plan (ARP) of 2021, and with allocations made to all 50 states plus districts and commonwealths, the goals are to expand each state’s middle-chain capacity and infrastructure for the aggregation, processing, manufacturing, storage, transporting, wholesaling, or distribution of targeted local and regional agricultural food products. Meat, poultry, cannabis, animal food and forage, fiber, and wild caught seafood products are not considered under this program.

The RFSI program will make infrastructure awards to businesses and organizations operating in the middle-of-the-supply chain. Successful projects will focus on increasing the supply of New York-sourced food products available in New York markets. Competitive project applications must benefit multiple producers and multiple markets, and may be collaborative applications.

The Application period for businesses to apply for this opportunity opens on May 15th, 2024. The Deadline is June 28th, 2024 5pm. 

The Department has been funded through the USDA RFSI program to expand statewide capacity and infrastructure for the aggregation, processing, manufacturing, storage, transporting, wholesaling, or distribution of targeted local and regional agricultural food products (excluding meat and poultry products).

The grant program is to fund projects that expand statewide capacity and infrastructure for the aggregation, processing, manufacturing, storage, transporting, wholesaling, or distribution of targeted local and regional agricultural food products (excluding meat and poultry products). Successful projects will focus on increasing the supply of New York-sourced food products available in New York and regional markets. Competitive project applications will benefit multiple producers and multiple markets.

Two grant opportunities will be available for New York agricultural businesses:

Infrastructure Grants: This competitive opportunity is focused on funding infrastructure for the aggregation, processing, manufacturing, storing, transporting, wholesaling, or distribution of locally produced agricultural food products (excluding meat and poultry products). Applications may be submitted for projects ranging from $100,000 - $3,000,000. Applications must include match funds of 50% or 25% for historically underserved groups.

Equipment-Only Grants: This competitive opportunity is focused on funding equipment for the aggregation, processing, manufacturing, storing, transporting, wholesaling, or distribution of agricultural food products (excluding meat and poultry products). Eligible applicants may request awards in the amount of $10,000 - $100,000. No match is required for Equipment-Only Grants. 

Definition of Middle-of-the-Supply Chain

Middle of the supply chain refers to the processing, aggregation, storage, wholesaling, or distribution of products.

Priorities and Objectives

  • Support infrastructure development to expand business' capacity for processing, aggregation, storage and distribution.

  • Target development of infrastructure projects to the dairy, fruit and vegetable, and organic industries to support the development of new value-added products.

  • Create greater market access to intermediaries such as food hubs, aggregators, wholesalers, and distributors with the goal of increasing local food sales to institutions such as schools, hospitals, and correctional facilities.

Estimated Funding Timeline

Infrastructure Grant Timeline*

  • RFP Opens:  May 15th

  • Submissions Due:  June 28th at 5 p.m.

  • Application Website: https://ffgf.smapply.us/

  • Office Hours: 12 p.m.-1 p.m. May 29th and June 12th Register here.

  • Question and Answers Submission: Send written questions to RFSI@ffgrowthfund.org by May 31, 2024

  • Question and Answers Posted:  June 5th, 2024 

  • Anticipated Awards Fall 2024

  • Projects Completed February 2027

Infrastructure Grant Amount

Infrastructure Grant Amount:  $100,000 - $3,000,000.

The program requires cost sharing or matching of 50% of the project cost as a match to federal funding. For underserved farmers and ranchers, a reduced match contribution is required at 25% of the project costs.

Qualifying applicants for the Infrastructure Grant projects will self-certify their eligibility for the 25% reduced match.

Equipment Only Grants

Equipment- only grants will be launched after the Infrastructure Grant Program. These awards will be $10,000 - $100,000. Equipment must be used for post-harvest aggregation, processing, packing, or distribution of eligible agricultural products.

Check back for more information soon.

Definition of Middle-of-the-Supply Chain
Priorities and Objectives
Estimated Funding Timeline
Infrastructure Grant Amount
Equipment Only Grants
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Eligibility
Eligible Activities
Ineligible Activities
Ineligible Products
Interested in Applying
To Apply

Eligibility

Who is eligible?

  • New York State agricultural producers or processors, or groups of agricultural producers and processors

  • Nonprofit organizations

  • Local government entities

  • Tribal governments

  • Institutions such as schools, universities, or hospitals bringing producers together to establish cooperative or shared infrastructure or invest in equipment that will benefit multiple producers middle-of-the-supply-chain activities.

What is eligible?

Projects that expand processing capacity, including product type, increased production volume, and supporting new wholesale/retail product lines, modernize equipment or facilities through upgrades, repairs or retooling, purchase installation of specialized equipment, modernize manufacturing, tracking, storage, and information technology systems, enhance worker safety through adoption of new technologies or investment in equipment or facility improvements, construct new facilities, increase packaging and labeling capacities, increase storage space, develop, customize, or install climate-smart equipment, modernize equipment or facilities to ensure food safety, and train on the use of new equipment and new processes.

Some examples include:

  • Expanding processing capacities, including adding product types, increasing production volumes, and supporting new wholesale/retail product lines;

  • Modernizing equipment or facilities through upgrades, repairs, or retooling; (e.g., adapting product lines for institutional procurement or adding parallel processing capacity);

  • Purchase installation of specialized equipment, such as processing components, sorting equipment, packing, and labeling equipment, or delivery vehicles;

  • Modernize manufacturing, tracking, storage, and information technology systems;

  • Enhance worker safety through adoption of new technologies or investment in equipment or facility improvements;

  • Increasing packaging and labeling capacities that meet compliance requirements under applicable laws; (e.g. sealing, bagging, boxing, labeling, conveying, and product moving equipment);

  • Increasing storage space, including cold storage;

  • Develop, customize, or install climate-smart equipment that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, increases efficiency in water use, improves air and/or water quality, and/or meets one or more of USDA’s climate action goals;

  • Modernize equipment or facilities to ensure food safety, including associated Hazard, Analysis, and Critical Control Points (HACCP) consultation, plan development and employee training;

  • Training on the use of all equipment purchased under the grant and associated new processes

Eligible Activities

Eligible Activities include:

  • Construction

  • Hiring term-limited personnel to assist with project implementation activities.

  • Purchasing special purpose equipment to benefit multiple producers through middle-of-the-supply-chain activities such as processing, aggregation, distribution or targeted agricultural product.

  • Analyzing potential facility upgrades and changes to meet regulatory requirements, obtaining design and/or architecture services.

  • Planning for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) or other food safety or worker safety measures or equipment recommendations.

  • Upgrades to new facilities for processing specific agricultural products, such as:

    • On-farm post-harvest processing, preservation, and storage/cold storage.

    • Post-harvest cleaning and grading.

    • Aggregator warehouse and storage, including cooperatives.

    • Purchase of freezing equipment, freezer, or cold storage.

    • Processing, canning, preserving and pasteurization.

    • Preparation and packing.

    • Drying, hulling, shelling and milling.

    • Cooking, baking, juicing, distilling, fermenting

  • Retail related activities can include creating distribution channels to new retail opportunities, or expanding processing and packaging capacities, including adding product types, increasing production volumes, and supporting new retail product lines.

Ineligible Activities

Ineligible Activities include:

  • Acquiring real property, or any interest therein.

  • Projects focused on meat and poultry processing or other ineligible agricultural products.

  • Activities that have received a Federal award from another Federal award program.

  • Claim expenses that have been or will be reimbursed under any Federal, State, or local government funding.

  • Projects which have already received funding from another federal grant or subaward program.

Ineligible Products

Ineligible Products include:

  • Meat

  • Poultry

  • Wild caught seafood

  • Exclusively animal feed and forage products

  • Fiber

  • Landscaping products

  • Tobacco

  • Cannabis

  • Dietary supplements

  • Alcoholic Beverages (eligible for equipment-only grants)

Interested in Applying? Do this now to get ready:

Unique Entity ID

1. Obtain a federal Unique Entity ID

Sub-awardees are required to obtain a UEI in SAM.gov prior to being issued a subaward.  This process can take multiple weeks in some instances, so it is important to start the process now. For information on how to register with SAM.gov and get a UEI number, visit https://sam.gov/content/entity-registration. It is free to register in SAM.gov.

2. Get your project shovel ready!

RFSI applicants will need to have shovel-ready projects because of the relatively short-timeline of the grant (projects must be completed by February 2027.) Make sure you know if you will need any local permits for your project.

3. Explore options for matching funds.

To Apply:

Applications may be made through the FFGF secure portal. Farm and Food Growth Fund (smapply.us)

Applicants should use the following supporting materials as guides for completing their online application.  Be sure to review each of them carefully.    

Additional Resources to assist can be found:

RFA

How to Guide

Step by Step Guide: How to Fill Out the Application

Webinar:

In the application, potential projects will be required to submit details of the project, including:

  • All contact information

  • An executive summary of the purpose, objectives, deliverables and expectations

  • A statement outlining the specific issue, problem or need that the project addresses

  • A summary budget

  • Performance measurements

  • Names of personnel and consultants to be involved with the project with references and demonstration of expertise and experience

  • Any equipment and supplies to be purchased with estimates and/or project quotes

  • Any construction included in the proposal with necessary permits, pre-approval, and certification as applicable.

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Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q: CAN AN INDIVDUAL PRODUCER OR SOLE OWNER APPLY TO RFSI FOR FUNDING?

A: Individual producers and/or sole owners are eligible to apply.  Individual producers and sole owners are eligible to apply. However, those entities must be able to demonstrate that their proposal provides benefits to multiple producers and/or markets.

Q: WHAT RETAIL RELATED ACTIVITIES ARE ELIGIBLE FOR FUNDING?

A: Eligible retail related activities can include creating distribution channels to new retail opportunities, or expanding processing and packaging capacities, including adding product types, increasing production volumes, and supporting new retail product lines.

Q: ARE FOR PROFIT ENTITIES, SUCH AS FOOD HUBS OR DISTRIBUTION COMPANIES, ELIGIBLE FOR INFRASTRUCTURE GRANT FUNDS?

A: For-profit entities operating middle-of-the-supply-chain activities such as processing, aggregation, or distribution of targeted agricultural products, whose activities are primarily focused for the benefit of local and regional producers, and that meet the eligibility requirements of the SBA small business size standards are eligible.

For-profit entities must meet the eligibility requirements of the SBA small business size standards matched to industries described in the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). For more information on these size standards, please visit SBA’s Size Standards webpage. For a quick check on whether your business qualifies, please use the Size Standards Tool.

Q: DOES THE RFSI PROGRAM REQUIRE COST SHARING OR MATCHING?

A: Yes, Infrastructure Grant Recipients require a match. The program requires cost sharing or matching of 50% of the project cost as a match to federal funding. For underserved farmers and ranchers, a reduced match contribution is required at 25% of the project costs.

Q: HOW SHOULD AN APPLICANT DOCUMENT IF THEY QUALIFY FOR REDUCED MATCH?

A: Qualifying applicants for the Infrastructure Grant projects will self-certify their eligibility for the 25% reduced match to 25%. Please review the Infrastructure Grant Template for more information on self-certification.

For more FAQ's, please click here.

Resources

If you are a potential applicant, please review the following documents:

For questions, please email us at RFSI@ffgrowthfund.org

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