For Immediate Release
Contact: Laura Zaks
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC)
Release: USDA Announces Details of 12 Regional Food Business Centers and $420 Million for the Regional Food System Initiative
Initiatives Aim to Foster a More Resilient, Diverse, and Competitive Food System
Washington, DC, May 3, 2023 – Today, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) shared details of two of its programs, the Regional Food Business Centers (RFBCs) and the new Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure Program (RFSI). USDA has announced the lead organizations selected for each of the twelve RFBCs. These Centers will provide coordination, technical assistance, and capacity building to help farmers, ranchers, and other food businesses access new markets and navigate federal, state, and local resources.
“The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) congratulates the 12 organizations selected to lead the Regional Food Business Centers. We are pleased to see that Rural Action Inc., a member of the Central Appalachian Network (CAN) which is an NSAC member, was named as the lead organization of the Appalachia USDA Regional Food Business Center. By ensuring the Centers are rooted in the communities they serve and prioritize meeting the needs of underserved producers and food businesses, these investments bolster the ongoing viability and resilience of our local and regional supply chains by increasing access to impactful federal investments. We look forward to seeing on-the-ground successes from these Centers,” said Hannah Quigley, NSAC Policy Specialist.
USDA first announced the initiative in 2022 to assist small and mid-sized producers and food and farm businesses with an emphasis on historically underinvested communities. By selecting 12 lead organizations, the Centers can build on existing regional partnerships, prioritize resources where they are most needed, and engage with grassroots food and farm organizations to strengthen food system capacity and coordination.
In addition, USDA announced the details of the RFSI which will invest $420 million in food systems infrastructure for specialty crops, dairy, grains, aquaculture, and other sectors.
“We’re hopeful that the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure Program (RFSI) compliments RFBC programming by addressing processing and distribution capacity to build resilience across the middle of the supply chain. Our coalition is eager to see this significant investment implemented at the state level to expand processing and distribution, equipment and manufacturing modernization,” added Quigley.
About the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC)
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is a grassroots alliance that advocates for federal policy reform supporting the long-term social, economic, and environmental sustainability of agriculture, natural resources, and rural communities. Learn more and get involved at: https://sustainableagriculture.net
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