Since March 2020, there have been a series of federal funding pools made available to farmers and agricultural markets both to provide COVID-19 relief and promote greater agricultural resilience in the future. Several of these programs are still open for farmers and local food marketplaces looking for additional support — and a number of new programs are expected to open later this year. The following is a summary of the currently or soon-to-be available resources and programs for farmers and those engaged in local food marketplaces and agricultural communities.
Support for Farmers – take a look at RAFI-USA’s COVID Relief Resources for Farmers blog for full descriptions of available programs and resources
- Coronavirus Food Assistance Program-2 – direct farmer payment program, applications open now
- BIPOC Debt Relief – in development, but producers who think they qualify should confirm with their local FSA office now. As of this writing, FSA has begun sending letters to direct loan borrowers it believes are eligible, with a commitment to contact guaranteed loan borrowers within 120 days.
Support for Local Food Organizations and Agricultural Communities – take a look at our Local and Regional Food Systems Grant blog for more information on the following grant programs including who can apply.
- Farmers Market Promotion Program – applications due June 21
- Local Food Promotion Program – applications due June 21
- Regional Food System Partners – applications due July 6
- Urban Agriculture and Innovation Grants Program – applications due July 30
In addition to these existing grant programs and resources, there are also positive signs on the federal policymaking horizon that additional support for farmers and agricultural markets is coming — not only in response to COVID-19 but also to increase climate resilience and food system resilience. As Congress continues to work on major spending bills for climate change and infrastructure, there may be a once-in-a-generation opportunity to secure large amounts of funding to support resilient food and farming systems and to tackle the climate crisis. We will keep you updated as this unique policy process unfolds!