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Grants to Arkansas Nonprofits, For-Profits, Agencies, Tribes, and Institutions to Strengthen Food Systems

Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure (RFSI) Grant Program


Agency
State

GrantWatch ID#
212762

Funding Source
Arkansas Department of Agriculture
Array ( )

Geographic Focus
USA: Arkansas

Important Dates
Deadline: 02/16/24 Save

Grant Description
Grants to Arkansas nonprofit and for-profit organizations, agricultural producers and processors, local government agencies, institutions, and tribal entities to improve the food supply chain and strengthen local food systems. Funding is intended to build resilience in the middle of the supply chain, which, for this program, refers to processing, aggregation, and distribution. Grants may be used for equipment purchases and infrastructure improvements.

The purpose of the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure (RFSI) program is to build resilience in the middle of the food supply chain, to provide more and better markets to small farms and food businesses, to support the development of value-added products for consumers, and to promote fair prices, fair wages, and new and safe job opportunities. 

Funds will support expanded capacity for the aggregation, processing, manufacturing, storing, transporting, wholesaling, and distribution of locally and regionally produced food products, including specialty crops, dairy, grains for human consumption, aquaculture, and other food products excluding meat and poultry. This program is intended to provide similar support to other programs that provide USDA funding for meat and poultry processing, but this program is focused on sectors other than meat and poultry.

The Department is offering two grant types under the RFSI program. Applicants may apply for one grant type only. 

  • Infrastructure Grants: For additional information see https://arkansasgrown.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/RFSI-RFA_1.9.24.pdf#page=5.
  • Simplified Equipment-Only Grants: The simplified equipment-only grant is offered to eligible farmers. The Department plans to provide a walk-in cooler to eligible farmers for the Simplified Equipment-Only Grant. The cooler must be for middle-of-the-supply-chain use only. 




Recipient

Additional Eligibility Criteria
Eligible entities include agricultural producers, processors, nonprofit organizations, for-profit entities, local governments, tribal governments, and institutions, such as schools, universities, or hospitals.

The RFSI program focuses on small-to-medium-sized businesses. For size standards see https://www.sba.gov/size-standards/index.html.

For additional information about Infrastructure Grant eligibility see https://arkansasgrown.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/RFSI-RFA_1.9.24.pdf#page=5.

Pre-Application Information
Timeline:
- Announce Request for Applications: January 9, 2024
- Deadline for Applications: February 16, 2024
- Invitation to Approved State Plan Applications: March 25, 2024
- Deadline for State Plan Applications: April 22, 2024
- The Department to Submit State Plan: by May 24, 2024
- Program launch upon USDA approval
- Program close: May 24, 2027

The Infrastructure grant is a two-step process. The first application is for a project concept proposal. Applications will be reviewed by an independent committee. Concepts that are selected by the review committee are then invited to the second stage to apply with more details.

Infrastructure Projects require a match of 50% of the project cost. For underserved applicants, a reduced match of 25% is required. There is no match required for the Simplified Equipment-Only grant.

All applicants are required to have a Unique Entity ID for their application.

USDA RFSI website: https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/grants/rfsi

Additional Funding Information

Estimated Total Program Funding:

$5,613,423

Estimated Size of Grant
Infrastructure Project proposals range from a minimum of $100,000 to a maximum of $3,000,000

Term of Contract
Infrastructure Projects must be completed by May 24, 2027.

Contact Information
Equipment grant application: https://www.cognitoforms.com/ArkansasAgriculture1/ResilientFoodSystemInfrastructureGrantEquipmentOnlyApplication

Infrastructure Grant Project Concept Proposal Application: https://www.cognitoforms.com/ArkansasAgriculture1/ResilientFoodSystemInfrastructureGrantInfrastructureProjectConcept

Contact:
Karen Reynolds
RFSI@agriculture.arkansas.gov

Arkansas Dept. of Agriculture
1 Natural Resources Drive
Little Rock, AR 72205
501-225-1598

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