Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure (RFSI) Program
The Arizona Department of Agriculture (AZDA) was recently awarded funding from USDA AMS through the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure Program (RFSI). Through this program, approximately $3.2 million will be available for competitive subaward grants to support the development of the middle-of-the-supply-chain for Arizona-based food and farm businesses.
Through the RFSI Program, AZDA will issue the following types of grants:
- Simplified Equipment-Only Grants (minimum of $10,000 and maximum of $100,000 for equipment only plus taxes and fees).
- Infrastructure Grants (minimum of $100,000 for personnel, equipment, supplies, construction, etc.).
These funds support expanding capacity for the aggregation, processing, manufacturing, storing, transporting, wholesaling, and distribution of local food products including specialty crops, dairy, grains for human consumption, aquaculture, and other food products, excluding meat and poultry.
AZDA is now accepting RFSI applications, please visit our grants page for more information.AZDA is also partnering with Pinnacle Prevention to provide technical assistance to RFSI applicants. Please visit the partner page to find out more about the support they are offering.
For more information on the funding source, please visit the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service program webpage.
Funding Priorities Identified
Through the initial work of the Arizona Food Action Plan and additional outreach (listening sessions and survey), the following funding priorities have been identified:
Priorities from RFSI Community Input (listening sessions and public comment)
- Transportation and distribution - vehicles, especially refrigerated, and shared distribution resources (staff, equipment such as a pallet lift) to minimize the amount of duplicated miles and labor hours spent moving food from production locations to consumer
- Modernize or expand existing facilities or construction of new facilities for the following supply chain activities:
- Cold storage- refrigerated food storage resources (walk-in, high volume capacity, shared, and geographically accessible) for continuous cold chain (storage & transportation, trained personnel, efficient management/coordination procedures)
- Processing/kitchens: shared, licensed food processing and preparation space to produce value-added local goods (changing or transforming a product from its original state to a more valuable state)
- Aggregation - facility to maintain cold chain while aggregating product in preparation for distribution to consumer
- Food hub coordination - shared and coordinated “drop points” for cold storage, processing, aggregation, and distribution to consumers; supporting logistics and collaboration to move food regionally and state-wide
- Labor - food safety training, workforce development, processing, aggregation, and distribution staffing
- Administrative support - licensing/insurance support, paperwork and funding application support, crop planning
Arizona Food Action Plan Priorities
- Equipment to make food production, aggregation, and processing more efficient, including additional processing centers, such as on-farm produce washing and packing stations;
- Hard and soft infrastructure to help with the aggregation and distribution of local food to help create more stabilized markets for producers;
- Infrastructure and capacity building for local and hyperlocal food hubs;
- New or upgraded facilities that can help support more middle-of-supply chain businesses, such as prep kitchens; and
- Equipment and investment in efforts that expand that capacity for supplying culturally appropriate food through emergency food systems and programs.
Entities eligible for Infrastructure Grants made by states will be:
- Agricultural producers or processors, or groups of agricultural producers and processors
- Nonprofit organizations operating middle-of-the-supply-chain activities such as processing, aggregation, distribution of targeted agricultural products
- For-profit entities operating middle-of-the-supply-chain activities such as processing, aggregation, or distribution of targeted agricultural products, whose activities are primarily focused for the benefit of local and regional producers, and that meet the eligibility requirements of the SBA small business size standards are eligible.
- For-profit entities must meet the eligibility requirements of the SBA small business size standards matched to industries described in the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). For more information on these size standards, please visit SBA’s Size Standards webpage. For a quick check on whether your business qualifies, please use the Size Standards Tool.
- Local government entities operating middle-of-the-supply-chain activities such as processing, aggregation, distribution of targeted agricultural product.
- Tribal governments operating middle-of-the-supply-chain activities such as processing, aggregation, distribution of targeted agricultural products.
- Institutions such as schools, universities, or hospitals bringing producers together to establish cooperative or shared infrastructure or invest in equipment that will benefit multiple producers middle-of-the-supply-chain activities such as processing, aggregation, distribution of targeted agricultural product.
All applicant businesses and organizations must be domestically owned, and applicants’ facilities must be physically located within the 50 States of the United States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
Match Requirement for Infrastructure Grants
Infrastructure Grant recipients are required to contribute 50% of the total proposed project cost as a match to federal funding. This applies to all applicants except those who qualify for the reduced match described below.
For historically underserved farmers and ranchers, or for other businesses that qualify under Small Business Administration (SBA) categories of small disadvantaged business, women-owned small business, or veteran-owned small business, the required match funding contribution or cost share is reduced to 25% of the project cost.
Simplified Equipment-Only Grants do not require a match.
Grant Program Coordinator
Grant Program Manager
Funding for the Arizona Resilient Food System Infrastructure Program (RFSI) webpage was made possible by a grant/cooperative agreement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the USDA.