USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is investing $10 million for 21 grants to develop and implement food safety and Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)-related training, education, extension outreach, and technical assistance for food processors and farmers with small to mid-size operations.
“NIFA’s integrated approach to enhancing food safety practices includes multi-state coordination, community outreach and collaborative projects that enable small farm operators, wholesalers, and small-scale processors to get the support they need,” says Carrie Castille, PhD, NIFA’s director. “This program helps deliver critical trainings and resources that equip our small business owners with tools to provide safe, high-quality food, strengthen their businesses, and contribute to national nutrition security.”
Additional communities supported through this Food Safety Outreach Competitive Grant Program include beginning farmers, socially disadvantaged farmers, veteran farmers and ranchers, and small fresh fruit and vegetable merchant wholesalers.
Awards are made under three categories: multi-state education and training projects, community outreach projects, and collaborative engagement supplements. Examples of the grants include:
- The Wisconsin Tribal Conservation Advisory Council will modify the FSMA training curriculum for Tribal growers, producers, and traditional harvesters so that they will increase their knowledge on safe handling of produce and traditional and wild foods ($300,000).
- Auburn University’s project, “Building a Food Safety Training Program to Empower Disadvantaged Producers in Alabama—Empowering Farmers Project,” will develop a food safety training program to empower limited-resource, minority farmers in the Black Belt region of Alabama. These small farmers have access to the fertile black belt soil, yet some lack access and adequate information to reap the full benefits of this resource ($300,000).
- Oregon State University’s project, “Western Regional Center to Enhance Food Safety,” will continue to foster collaboration in food safety education and stakeholder support of FSMA implementation. Leveraging a multi-institutional infrastructure already established across the U.S. Western Region, this initiative will expand the education network to include additional participants from Land-grant Universities, Alaska Native-serving, Native Hawaiian-serving, and Hispanic-serving Agricultural Institutions, as well as non-governmental organizations from 13 western states and two Pacific territories ($793,592)
For more information on these grants, visit the NIFA website.