University of Nebraska-Lincoln Named as One of 12 New USDA Regional Food Business Centers
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced the creation of 12 new USDA Regional Food Business Centers that will provide national coverage coordination, technical assistance, and capacity building to help farmers, ranchers, and other food businesses access new markets and navigate federal, state, and local resources, thereby closing the gaps to success. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln was selected as the lead location for the Heartland Region which also includes the states of Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri. In addition, USDA also announced a $420 million Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure Program (RFSI) to fund innovative projects designed invest in processing and distribution capacity to build resilience across the middle of the supply chain and strengthen local and regional food systems. USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will partner with state and territories’ departments of agriculture for this program. USDA Regional Food Business Centers will have three main responsibilities:
- Coordination - The Regional Food Centers will act as regional hubs coordinating across geographic areas with USDA, other federal, state, and tribal agencies with relevant resources, regional commissions, stakeholders, and the other Regional Food Centers. They will engage with stakeholders and partners to develop and implement strategic and funding plans for serving the region through technical assistance and capacity building. They will conduct outreach to underserved communities and businesses.
- Technical Assistance – The Regional Food Centers will provide direct business technical assistance to small- and mid-sized food and farm businesses (producers, processors, aggregators, distributors, and other businesses within the food supply chain) and food value and supply chain coordination. Each Regional Food Center will identify priority areas for technical assistance (e.g., aggregation/distribution, specialty crop processing for institutions) for the region it plans to serve.
- Capacity Building – The Regional Food Centers will provide financial assistance through business builder subawards up to $100,000 to support projects focused on regional needs and businesses that are working towards expansion and other investment. These subawards may support staff time, business planning activities, software implementation, the purchase of special purpose equipment, such as food safety, processing and packaging equipment, and value chain coordination, and other expenses associated as outlined in the RFA.
LIBERTY Campaign Focused on Immigration and Border Enforcement Launches
Today, more than 430 business associations including the American Farm Bureau Federation, launched the LIBERTY Campaign (Legal Immigration and Border Enforcement Reform This Year) with a letter to members of Congress, calling on them to address the crisis at our border and the workforce shortage crisis before the year’s end. The majority of American voters – both Republican and Democrat – support policies to strengthen border security and make it easier to immigrate to the U.S., according to a recent Fox News poll. Three-quarters of voters (73%) favor making it easier to immigrate and increasing the number of border agents at the southern border (74%). The LIBERTY Campaign is comprised of over 430 business associations from all 50 states and spanning across a host of industries, including healthcare, manufacturing, restaurants, hospitality, retail, construction, agriculture, engineering, and food processing, among others. To learn more about the LIBERTY Campaign, please click here.