NSAC's Blog

Funding Now Available to Help Farmers with FSMA

February 10, 2021

A hoop house with tomatoes and peppers grown in New Mexico. Photo Credit: USDA Photo by Bob Nichols.

Farmers are working to improve food safety on the farm, and prepare for Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) inspections, but this requires both assistance and resources. We are excited that the Food Safety Outreach Program (FSOP) applications have just opened up and will provide organizations with funding to assist and help farmers and small food businesses with both FSMA and food safety.

FSOP is a federal grants program that funds community-based organizations, non-governmental organizations, cooperative extension, and local, state, and tribal governments’ programs focused on food safety and FSMA. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) recently announced $9.6 million in FSOP grant funding this year – the most funding ever available and an increase of almost $2 million from last year.

The deadline for applications is Thursday, April 1, 2021.

Application Details

FSOP projects should focus on outreach, education, and assistance for farmers and small processors around food safety practices and the new FSMA rules. There are two types of projects eligible organizations can pursue to receive FSOP funding: Community Outreach and Collaborative Education and Training Projects. There is no match requirement.

Community Outreach Projects

FSOP will once again offer Community Outreach Projects, to support the development of new food safety programs and to help groups build capacity to address the needs of their communities. Awards can be between $80,000 and $150,000 for projects lasting up to two years. Community Outreach Projects must:

  • Create, implement or expand food safety education to niche, underserved, or non-traditional audiences.
  • Be led by a team with a record of strong community partnerships and working with others to educate target audiences.
  • Create and implement a customized food safety training and outreach program for various types of farms or food processors, including those working with conservation systems, sustainable businesses, and organic food producers.

Collaborative Education and Training Projects

Collaborative Education and Training Projects aim to fund state-wide, multi-state, or multi-county food safety training projects. Grant awards are available for $200,000 to $400,000 for projects up to three years. These projects must:

  • Be led by a project team with a track record of community partnerships and serving educational needs of the target audiences.
  • Create and execute food safety education and outreach for various types of farms or food processors, including those working with conservation systems, sustainable businesses, and organic food producers.

Additional Funds Available for Outreach to Communities of Color

An additional $150,000 is available for applications to either project type that increase outreach to communities of color through the Collaborative Engagement Supplements. Organizations applying for this supplemental support must include a significant collaboration with either one or more of the following universities, colleges, or organizations: 1890s, 1994s, Insular Areas, Alaska Native-Serving and Native Hawaiian-Serving (ANNH), Hispanic Serving Agricultural Colleges and Universities (HSACU), and community-based organizations serving socially disadvantaged populations.

Regional Centers Funds 

There is also funding available for the four regional centers focusing on food safety and FSMA. Current centers include:

Program Changes for FY 2021

The FSOP RFA changes highlight a few recommendations the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition requested, and we are thankful for NIFA’s continued partnership, and efforts to ensure these changes.

NIFA clarified that the additional Collaborative Engagement Supplements must be in direct partnership with a Minority-Serving Institution or an organization working to serve farmers of color that have been historically underserved, and that the proposed budget must adequately reflect this partnership. NSAC appreciates this clarity and looks forward to further analyzing the racial equity impact of FSOP grants.

NSAC is also excited about the new requirements for Regional Centers to partner with an 1890, 1994, ANNH, HSACUs and/or community-based organizations serving socially-disadvantaged populations within their region, which will help ensure outreach and resources to farmers of color continues to be prioritized. 

NSAC also appreciates the clarity that Community Outreach Projects can be used for FSMA training for the organization’s staff with minimal food safety experience, and that organizations must have relationships with the target audience.

Upcoming FSOP Webinar for Tribal Staff

On Friday, February 19, 2021 from 2:00-3:00 p.m. Eastern Time the United South and Eastern Tribes, in partnership with Intertribal Agriculture Council, Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, and National Institute of Food and Agriculture, will be hosting a FSOP webinar for anyone who works with indigenous producers. For more information, and to register for the webinar, click here.

Additional Resources 

For additional application details and requirements, see the FY 2021 Request for Applications.

Additional information is also available via Grants.gov and on the NIFA FSOP webpage.

You can read more about analyzing FSOP awards through an equity lens here.

You can also learn more about FSOP through the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s Grassroots Guide to the Farm Bill.

Categories: Carousel, Food Safety, General Interest

One response to “Funding Now Available to Help Farmers with FSMA”

  1. Tierney Adler says:

    Hey there, I was searching for the policies that have helped farmers in some way. I found your blog really helpful for my research. Thanks for putting this up on your website.