USDA announced that $700 million in competitive 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. The new program is funded by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.
The program will help farm workers, meatpackers, and front-line grocery workers defray the cost of expenses incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including costs for personal protective equipment (PPE), dependent care, expenses related to quarantines and testing and other necessary living expenses.
The Request for Application (RFA) will be announced in early fall and will be open for a period of 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.
Funds will be awarded through grants to state agencies, and non-profit organizations serving farm workers and meatpacking workers. USDA is setting aside $20 million for at least one pilot to provide targeted support to front-line grocery workers.
USDA also said the agency will soon announce 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 Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will offer technical assistance through one or more partners and webinars for applicants to help them understand the RFA, once it is published. Additionally, grants management specialists will be available to answer any incoming questions and emails after the details are announced. For more information about upcoming webinars, grant eligibility, and program requirements, visit the FFWR webpage at www.ams.usda.gov/services/grants/ffwr, or contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.