Ag News

GDA launches grant program to boost food supply chain

by Georgia Farm Bureau

Posted on Mar 01, 2024 at 21:06 PM

The Georgia Department of Agriculture is working with the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to offer $7.1 million in competitive grant funding to Georgia projects designed to build resilience across the middle of the supply chain. The grants are being offered under the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure (RFSI) Grant Program. 

The GDA will accept applications for this grant opportunity until March 29 at 5 p.m.

“The collaboration between the Georgia Department of Agriculture and USDA signifies a strong partnership that will support Georgia's small farms and food businesses through the RFSI grant,” said Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Tyler Harper. “Our funding priorities are centered on strengthening the food supply chain, with a particular emphasis on enhancing market opportunities for small farms and food businesses and increasing value-added opportunities. We firmly believe that these funds will help our state establish a more resilient food supply chain for all Georgians.”

The RFSI program, established under the American Rescue Plan, allocates $420 million to strengthen local and regional food systems nationwide. It focuses on enhancing market access for small farms and food businesses, promoting fair prices and wages, and fostering economic growth through job creation.

The grants offered through the RFSI program will support a variety of initiatives aimed at improving the capacity and infrastructure involved in processing, storing, and distributing locally and regionally produced food. Priority will be given to projects involving dairy, grains, fruits, vegetables, dry beans, and aquaculture, as well as those submitted by farmer- and worker-owned enterprises and cooperatives. 

Who is eligible for grant consideration:

· Agricultural producers or processors, or groups of agricultural producers and processors (including cooperatives or associations);

·  Small for-profit businesses;

·  Nonprofit organizations;

·  Local and tribal government entities;

·  Institutions such as schools, universities, or hospitals. 

For Georgia's Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure Program (RFSI), the term "middle-of-the-supply-chain" encompasses a series of critical activities positioned between the initial production phase and the final retail sale. These activities, essential for the processing, aggregation, and distribution phases, enhance the value, safety, and marketability of agricultural products across the state. The activities outlined below, while not exhaustive, are illustrative of the operations supported by the RFSI program to strengthen Georgia's agricultural supply chain:

Packaging Operations: This includes the grading, sorting, and labeling of products to prepare them for market.

Processing Techniques: Activities such as canning, preserving, pasteurizing, and other processing methods that extend the shelf life and improve the safety of agricultural products.

Extraction Processes: The extraction of juice, oil, nut meats, and other derivatives from agricultural products for further use or sale.

Crop Processing: Tasks like chopping, washing, peeling, drying, hulling, milling, and shelling that are preliminary steps for further processing or direct sale.

Value-Added Product Creation: The transformation of raw agricultural goods into products with increased market value through cooking, baking, juicing, fermenting, distilling, and other processing methods.

Logistics and Storage: Activities related to the efficient tracking, storage (including cold storage), warehousing, and distribution of products to ensure they reach markets in optimal condition.

All applicants for the Georgia Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure (RFSI) Program must have a valid Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) number as part of their application process. The UEI is a requirement for all entities receiving federal financial assistance and serves as a standard identifier for doing business with the U.S. government.

To obtain or verify your UEI number, please visit the System for Award Management (SAM) at . Registration is free and is essential for ensuring your eligibility for the RFSI grant. Please ensure that your SAM registration is current and active at the time of application and throughout the grant period. Applications without a valid UEI will not be accepted

Additional consideration for awarding grants will be given to eligible applicants who are historically underserved farmers and ranchers, small and underserved business owners, and other businesses that qualify under the U.S. Small Business Administration categories of small disadvantaged businesses, women-owned small businesses, and veteran-owned small businesses.

Grant funds cannot benefit products including meat, poultry, wild-caught seafood, dietary supplements, tobacco, and food for animal consumption.

For complete program details and to download application guidelines, visit the GDA's website at

Please email any further questions to or call Happy Wyatt at 478-365-2372.

The following instructions for downloading applications at are provided by the GDA. Program documents must be opened using the latest version of Adobe Reader; a link to download the latest version of Adobe is provided at .  Click on the links for the guidelines and other application documents posted on the aforementioned website. If you encounter problems opening the documents after installing Adobe, go to your download folder and right click on the application. It will ask how to open and you click Adobe.  GDA apologizes for all the added steps.

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