Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure (RFSI) Program - Grant Applications

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The opportunity for increasing the value of Colorado producers’ products via processing remains largely unmet. Grant funding offered through the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure (RFSI) Program is a critical support for non-meat processing and value added opportunities.

Meant for agricultural products for human consumption, the program provides funding for producers and processors to continue the development of processing infrastructure for fruit, vegetables, grains, legumes, dairy, and other non-meat products.*

By focusing on middle-of-the-supply-chain projects that benefit a number of Colorado producers, the RFSI grant program will contribute to a more resilient food system and financially stronger producers.

*Ineligible products include: meat and poultry, wild-caught seafood, exclusively animal feed and forage products, fiber, landscaping products, tobacco, or dietary supplements.

More about this funding opportunity

Timeline

Phase I of application opens February 7, 2024

Phase I applications are due not later than end of day on March 7, 2024

Phase II applications open March 15, 2024

Phase II application are due no later than end of day May 1, 2024

Award recommendations to the USDA AMS will be made on May 23, 2024

Final awards expected by beginning of July

 

Applications

Phase I applications are provided via a Google Form. If you cannot access the Google Form, download an MS Word or PDF version of the application.

These forms can be filled out and emailed to jodi.walder@state.co.us or mailed to 305 Interlocken Parkway, Broomfield, CO 80021, ATTN: Brian Coppom. All submissions must be received by 11:59 PM March 7, 2024.

 

Review Process

After the close of the Phase I application period, applications will be reviewed for eligibility and strength of project alignment with intended program outcomes. Applicants who meet the criteria in this round will be invited to submit a competitive Phase II application. 

Note: Phase I applications are not required in order to complete and submit a full USDA application in Phase II. Submission of Phase I applications within the designated time period, however, is required for any applicant seeking funding from the NW and Rocky Mountain Regional Food Business Center for Phase II grant writing assistance. Phase I applicants may also receive clarifying feedback on their projects that could be helpful if they pursue Phase II applications.

Please sign up for email updates to be notified when grant updates are available. Select the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure (RFSI) Program list. 

Application documents

To view the full application before filling it out, please view this Google Document

Get updates about the RFSI grant

To sign up for the RFSI email list, please follow this link and select the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure (RFSI) Program list. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply?

To make the most efficient use of applicants’ time and resources, the first phase of the application will be simplified. In this phase, applicants will answer eligibility questions and describe their proposed projects. A panel will review the letters to determine if projects are eligible and the degree to which they align with program goals. Projects that meet the initial criteria will be invited to submit a full USDA application.

 

Will I be competing with others for grant funding?

Yes, both Phase I and Phase II are competitive. 

 

Can I skip the Phase I application?

Yes, you may go directly to the Phase II application when it opens. Only applicants who submitted Phase I applications, however, are eligible to receive funding from the Northwest and Rocky Mountain Regional Food Business Center for Phase II grant writing assistance. Phase I applicants may also benefit from receive clarifying feedback on their projects that could be helpful if they pursue Phase II applications

 

What is the review process?

A review team will review Phase I applications for eligibility and strength of alignment with the program goals. Phase II applications will also be reviewed by the review team. CDA will recommend projects that have the greatest alignment with program goals and feasibility for completion to the USDA for funding. The USDA will make final determinations on which projects are funded, and may request modifications of those projects.
 

What will I need for my Phase 1 application?

The Phase application has 14 multiple choice and yes/no questions that determine eligibility, 3 questions for contact information, and 5 narrative questions that include:

  • A project title
  • A description of the proposed project. 
  • A description of the project’s benefit to Colorado’s agricultural system
  • A description of the specific issue, problem or need that the project will address
  • A description of the experience you (and any partners) have with projects like this and how this experience will contribute to project success.

 

What are the intended program outcomes?

The program seeks to strengthen Colorado’s food system by increasing the number of middle-of-the-supply-chain opportunities for Colorado farmers and processors. Middle of the supply chain includes aggregation, manufacturing, storing, transporting, wholesaling, distribution and processing. Stated program outcomes includes

Increasing capacity in the middle of the supply chain for local/regional food products. Indicators of this outcome include:

  • Number of new facilities constructed
  • Number of existing facilities improved or expanded
  • Number of processing equipment units purchased and installed
  • Number of processing equipment units modernized through upgrades, repairs, or retooling:
    Number of aggregation, storage, distribution equipment units purchased and installed
  • Number of aggregation, storage, distribution equipment units modernized through upgrades, repairs, or retooling
  • Number of employees trained on new equipment and processes
  • Number of employees that received food safety training
  • Number of employees that received worker safety training
  • Number of new or improved wastewater management systems
  • Number of new or improved information technology systems

Increasing economic viability of local/regional producers and processors. Indicators of this outcome include:

  • Number of new jobs created
  • Number of local/regional agricultural producers who benefited from the new or improved processing/aggregation/storage or distribution capacity
  • Number of new local/regional products processed, aggregated, stored or distributed
  • Number of new value-added products developed
  • Number of new market-outlets established 

 

What are examples of appropriate projects?

A grain milling facility that allows farmers to mill their grain to specification and package it under their brand for distribution. A facility that aggregates and processes seconds to be sold to institutional buyers. Collectively owned cold and dry storage that can be rented by the square foot.


Will I need a budget ready to show with my Letter of Intent?

You will not need a budget ready at this stage. You will be asked to select the range of your expected funding request from a multiple choice table.

 

Will certain types of projects be prioritized during the review process?

Yes. Per USDA AMS requirements states will prioritize Infrastructure Grant applications that benefit the following:

  • Underserved farmers and ranchers;
  • New and beginning farmers or ranchers;
  • Veteran producers;
  • Processors and other middle-of-the-supply businesses owned by socially disadvantaged individuals, as defined by the Small Business Administration (SBA).

States will also focus funding to projects that:

  • Offer family-supporting job quality and treatment/safety of workers;
  • Focus on small and medium-sized enterprises that add options and choices for consumers and producers (emphasis on value-added);
  • Demonstrate local support for the project;
  • Support underserved communities; and
  • Are submitted by cooperatives, farmer- and worker-owned enterprises.
     

Will you also offer equipment-only grants?

Yes.
 

Informational Webinar

Watch this informational session of January 17, 2024 about the Resilient Food System Infrastructure Grant to learn about its purpose as a critical support for non-meat processing and value added opportunities.

Sesión informativa

Vea el contenido de esta sesión informativa del 11 de diciembre 2023 sobre la Subvención para Infraestructuras Resilientes de Sistemas Alimentarios para entender su propósito como apoyo fundamental para el procesamiento de productos no cárnicos y conocer las oportunidades asociadas.