USDA has announced that $700 million in grant funding will be available through the new Farm and Food Workers Relief (FFWR) grant program to help farm workers and meatpacking workers with pandemic-related health and safety costs. Additionally, the agency has set aside $20 million of this amount for at least one pilot program to support grocery workers and test options for reaching them in the future. The new program is funded by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 and is part of USDA’s Build Back Better efforts to respond and recover from the pandemic.
The program will provide relief to farm workers, meatpacking workers, and front-line grocery workers for expenses incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This relief is intended to defray costs for reasonable and necessary personal, family, or living expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as costs for personal protective equipment, dependent care, and expenses associated with quarantines and testing related to the pandemic.
Funds will be awarded through grants to state agencies, Tribal entities, and non-profit organizations serving farm workers and meatpacking workers ranging from $5,000,000 to $50,000,000. Eligible entities must demonstrate the capacity to reimburse farm workers and meatpacking workers for up to $600 for expenses incurred due to the pandemic.
USDA will also be soon announcing a separate $700 million suite of pandemic safety and response grants for producers, processors, farmers markets, distributors, and seafood processors and vessels impacted by COVID-19
The request for application will be announced in early fall and will be open for 60 days. Additional information and technical assistance for applying to these grants and program updates will be provided by USDA when the application period opens. For information about upcoming webinars, grant eligibility, and program requirements, visit the FFWR webpage at www.ams.usda.gov/services/grants/ffwr or contact [email protected].