Blending the food world with business is a balancing act, and industry players can use all the help they can get to better position themselves in the market. The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Regional Food Business Centers offer support to U.S. operators, and the USDA recently announced an investment of approximately $400 million to develop at least six new centers.
These centers will be utilized to help farmers, ranchers, and other food businesses access new markets and manage federal, state, and local resources.
“The USDA Regional Food Business Centers will be a new, critical asset as we continue our work to strengthen and enhance local and regional food systems across the nation,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Regional Food Business Centers will serve as USDA’s cornerstone in the development of the local and regional supply chains, building on lessons learned during the pandemic, providing technical assistance, and creating new market opportunities in areas where the need is greatest.”
According to a press release, the Regional Food Business Centers will assist small and mid-sized producers and food and farm businesses with the goal of creating a more resilient, diverse, and competitive food system. USDA will fund at least six regional centers, including a national tribal center and at least one center serving each of three targeted areas, which include:
The Regional Food Business Centers will work to identify farm-to-market links across their proposed geographic area to reach a variety of regions, the release stated.
“USDA is committed to supporting smaller producers, processors, and distributors to diversify economic opportunities in underserved communities,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt. “The USDA Regional Food Business Centers will decrease barriers and improve supply chain linkages for producers, processors and distributors and strengthen regional food systems' networks and partnerships in response to hardships and vulnerabilities exposed by recent national emergencies, particularly the COVID-19 pandemic.”
USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has published a Request for Applications for this program, with applications due electronically by 11:59 p.m. ET on November 22, 2022.
For more information on the program and application requirements, click here.
Deli Market News applauds the USDA as it makes this monumental commitment to our industry.