Over $3 Million Available in Competitive Grants to Strengthen Colorado’s Food Supply Chain Infrastructure

Autumn Farming in Colorado (File Photo)

The Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) is offering more than  $3 million in competitive grant funding for projects designed to build resilience across Colorado’s food system supply chain.

The Resilient Food System Infrastructure (RFSI) program is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) under a cooperative agreement with Colorado. By focusing on middle-of-the-supply-chain projects that benefit a number of Colorado producers, the RFSI grant program will contribute to a more resilient food system and financially stronger producers.

Using RFSI funding, CDA will fund projects that increase aggregation and storage options for Colorado producers, particularly with cold and dry storage, and will invest in processing facilities such as individual quick freezing, freeze drying, drying, pureeing, packing, labeling, and canning to create accessibility to institutional markets and expansion into consumer markets. The state’s priorities are informed by stakeholder engagement and outreach to producers and processors to better understand their needs.

“This partnership between USDA and Colorado is allowing critical funding to reach areas of the supply chain that need it most,” said USDA Marketing and Regulatory Programs Under Secretary Jenny Lester Moffitt. “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.”

This grant is open to projects that 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 non-meat food products. Eligible entities include agricultural producers or processors, nonprofit organizations, local government entities, tribal governments, and institutions such as schools, universities, or hospitals that bring producers together to establish cooperative or shared infrastructure.

Grant applications should be submitted online on the CDA website by March 7, 2024. Applications that serve smaller farms and ranches, new and beginning farmers and ranchers, underserved producers, veteran producers, and underserved communities will be given priority during the review process.

“The collaboration between federal, state, and local partners is integral to the success of implementing resilient food infrastructure systems. CDA’s Markets division staff has created a meaningful state plan that will boost our regional food system,” said Colorado Agriculture Commissioner Kate Greenberg. “We are grateful for our partnership with the USDA and look forward to launching the Resilient Food System Infrastructure grant to support Coloradans in every part of the state in expanding local processing capacity and adding value to their homegrown products.”

Through the program, the Colorado Department of Agriculture will support supply chain coordination and technical assistance to farmers and food businesses operating in processing, aggregation and distribution—all critical activities to support access to more and better markets for farmers.

For more information, visit the CDA Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure webpage.

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