Amherst, MA Nov. 28, 2023 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA is making investments that will expand markets for agricultural producers and strengthen American food and agriculture supply chains in 37 states as well as Puerto Rico.
“The Biden-Harris Administration is championing America’s farmers and ranchers by helping to expand businesses, support more robust American supply chains and save jobs,” Vilsack said. “Today’s investments in agricultural producers and rural entrepreneurs will create better economic opportunities that spur competition and bolster food supply chains across the country. This will result in more affordable prices and choices for consumers, as well as more opportunities and revenue for farmers.”
USDA is making investments in 185 projects worth nearly $196 million to create new and better market opportunities for producers and entrepreneurs.
Today’s announcement was made as part of the inaugural meeting of the new White House Council on Supply Chain Resilience which is part of President Biden’s agenda to bring down costs for American families and increase investment in America’s supply chains critical to economic and national security. Today’s funding builds on prior investments made by USDA under President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to increase competition, enhance independent meat and poultry and other diversified food processing capacity, strengthen local and regional food systems and expand domestic, innovative fertilizer production.
“From Barnstable county to the Berkshires, these USDA Rural Development investments by the Biden-Harris administration will have Commonwealth-wide impact that will enhance economic opportunities and the resiliency of our regional food system,” said Scott J.Soares, USDA Rural Development State Direct for Southern New England.
A Rural Development grant for $26,000 will be used to provide technical assistance for completion of a commercial kitchen and event space at a redeveloped mill and former brownfield site in North Adams, Massachusetts. The project will help support regional farms and small businesses in the Berkshire region consisting of 18 towns and approximately 115,740 residents.
Center for EcoTechnology, Inc.
This Rural Development investment grant for $24,355 will be used to provide technical assistance and training to small businesses in the Berkshire region. The project will include outreach and technical assistance, training, and education to decarbonize small rural Massachusetts farms across the Berkshires. The project will benefit these small businesses and approximately 39,850 residents in 25 towns.
Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA)
CISA will use this Rural Development investment grant for $29,536 to provide technical assistance and training for farms in Franklin, Hampshire, and Worcester counties, Massachusetts. The project will help farms build climate change resilience by assessing climate change related challenges; understanding, prioritizing, and planning solutions; and accessing resources for implementation. This includes climate change adaptation and mitigation through site planning; crop diversification; water management (drainage and irrigation); energy’s efficiency.
Midnight Our LLC
This Rural Development investment will be used to streamline the expansion of Midnight Our’s locally marketed Cape Cod scallop production and marketing. The company will use a USDA RD grant for $49,873 to help process over 13,000 lbs. of scallops over the grant performance period. Marketing services will be contracted to help expand the selling and shipping of the locally marketed Cape Cod scallop products
USDA and the Biden-Harris Administration are making these investments through six programs designed to create economic opportunities for people and businesses in rural areas.
Rural Business Development Grants assist with economic development planning and/or the financing or expansion of rural businesses by providing technical assistance and training for small rural businesses.
The Value Added Producer Grants Program helps farmers and ranchers venture into new markets by adding value to their bio-based products that will increase their revenue. Funds may be used to process or market these products. For example, an olive farmer may use funding to produce and market olive oil.
Business and Industry Loan Guarantees help improve rural economic health by increasing access to business capital, allowing commercial lenders, like banks and credit unions, to offer affordable financing to eligible rural businesses. This program was authorized by the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act.
The Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program supported investments in infrastructure for food processing, manufacturing, storage, transportation, wholesaling, aggregation and distribution to increase capacity and create a more resilient, diverse and secure U.S. food supply chain through the American Rescue Plan Act.
The Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program provides funding for rural projects through local utility organizations. USDA provides zero-interest loans to local utilities which, in turn, lend the funding to local businesses to support projects that will create and keep jobs in rural areas.
Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA Rural Development provides loans, loan guarantees and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/ct-ma-ri.
USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.rd.usda.gov/ct-ma-ri.
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USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.