There is significant funding flowing to states from federal agencies to support small farmers and ranchers, rural communities, and the environment. Don’t miss out on sharing these resources with your constituents.
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- The White House Office of Public Engagement hosts a Weekly Rural Stakeholders Meeting on all things impacting rural communities. You can RSVP here.
FOR YOUR CONSTITUENTS:
For Small and Medium Meat & Poultry Processing Facilities
USDA will invest $1 billion in expanding meat and poultry processing capacity. All current and upcoming award opportunities can be found here: https://www.usda.gov/meat.
Opportunities currently available include:
- Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program: To back private lenders that invest in independently-owned food processing and distribution infrastructure, USDA is guaranteeing loans of up to $40 million to expand meat and poultry processing capacity and finance other food supply chain infrastructure. Lenders may provide the loans to eligible cooperatives, corporations, for profits, nonprofits, Tribal communities, public bodies and people in rural and urban areas. USDA is accepting electronic applications from lenders through the Food Supply Chain Online Application System until funds are expended.
- Reduce Overtime and Holiday Inspection Costs for Small and Very Small Processing: The American Rescue Plan includes $100 million for the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to reduce the costs of overtime inspection for small and very small meat and poultry establishments and egg products plants. The funding will allow FSIS to reduce these inspection fees for small establishments by 30% and very small establishments by 75%. Establishments can submit an Overtime/Holiday Rate Reduction form to request an inspection fee reduction. Forms should be submitted by March 11, 2022.
For Producers Engaging in Climate Smart Agriculture
- The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has several new and expanded funding opportunities for farmers implementing climate smart agriculture in 2022. Updates include nationwide availability of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Conservation Incentive Contracts option, a new and streamlined EQIP Cover Crop Initiative, and added flexibilities for producers to easily re-enroll in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). NRCS accepts applications for conservation programs – including EQIP and CSP – year-round, however producers and landowners should apply by state-specific, signup dates to be considered for each year’s funding. To apply, producers should contact their local USDA Service Center.
For Socially Disadvantaged Farmers & Ranchers
- The USDA is now accepting applications for the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program. The program maintains and improves food and agricultural supply chain resiliency; it will award up to $400 million through non-competitive cooperative agreements with state and tribal governments to support local, regional, and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers through the purchase of domestic local foods.
For Small, Local Producers to Get Improved Insurance Coverage
- Small-Scale, Local Producers Get Improved Insurance Coverage for 2022. Agricultural producers with small-scale farms who sell locally can now get simplified insurance coverage through a new policy designed by USDA called Micro Farm policy, which simplifies recordkeeping and covers post-production costs, such as washing and value-added products. Producers with crops insured under another crop insurance policy or a vertically integrated operation will not be eligible.
For Rural Development
- The USDA is accepting applications for their Rural Business Development Grant Program. These grants provide technical assistance and training for small rural businesses that have fewer than 50 new workers and less than $1 million in gross revenue. Towns, communities, state agencies, nonprofits, Institutions of higher education, federally-recognized tribes, and rural cooperatives can apply. The application deadline is Feb. 28, 2022.
- Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE) Grant Program is now accepting applications. The RISE Grant Program offers grant assistance to create and augment high-wage jobs, accelerate the formation of new businesses, support industry clusters and maximize the use of local productive assets in eligible low-income rural areas. Grants range from $500,000 to $2,000,000. The deadline for application is April 19, 2022.