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USDA to boost Virginia’s food supply chain

April 5, 2024
Department’s Agricultural Marketing Service agress to provide $6.3M in RFSI funding for projects that increase cold storage and transportation options in the state.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service recently established a cooperative agreement with Virginia to provide over $6.3 million in competitive grant funding for projects that bolster supply-chain resiliency under the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure Program.

Using the funding, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will support projects that increase cold storage and flash freezing facilities, provide more transportation options, modernize equipment for value added processing, and expand capacity for aggregation, USDA reported.

The state’s priorities are informed by stakeholder engagement and outreach to underserved producers to better understand their needs.

Virginia is accepting applications for RFSI funding through April 15.

“This partnership between USDA and Virginia is allowing critical funding to reach areas of the supply chain that need it most,” Jenny Lester Moffitt, USDA under secretary for marketing and regulatory programs, said in a news release. “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.”

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.

“There are approximately 41,500 farm operations in the Commonwealth with the vast majority of these being family owned,” said Joseph Guthrie, commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. “To help local and regional farms and food businesses achieve scale and efficiencies, we must invest in supply chain infrastructure and help facilitate market access.”

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