Pennsylvania Agriculture Industry Receives $4.8 Million Boost to Strengthen Food Supply Chain

Agricultural farm landImage via Openverse

HARRISBURG, PA — Pennsylvania’s Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding recently announced the availability of $4.8 million in federally funded grants aimed at enhancing the food supply chain’s efficiency from farm to table. These grants, part of the larger $26 million allocated to Pennsylvania under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure program, are designed to purchase essential equipment that strengthens the link between producers and consumers.

The initiative is a critical component of efforts to sustain and grow Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry, which plays a pivotal role in both the state and national economy. “A strong local supply chain keeps more dollars in the pockets of our farm businesses, growing their bottom lines, and feeding the economy in communities across Pennsylvania,” Secretary Redding stated, emphasizing the importance of these grants in expanding opportunities for local businesses and thereby bolstering the state’s economy.

Pennsylvania is a national leader in direct farm sales to consumers, a segment that, while vital, represents just a fraction of the overall consumer food supply. The majority of agricultural products undergo processing, packaging, or are combined with other farm outputs to meet the demands of retailers and wholesalers. This complex process requires robust infrastructure to ensure that products can be efficiently delivered to marketplaces such as grocers, restaurants, and institutions like schools and hospitals.

The announcement of this second round of funding follows an initial grant application period that closed on March 30, 2024. With awards soon to be announced, this continued investment underscores the Shapiro Administration’s commitment to a resilient and thriving agricultural sector. This federal funding complements Governor Josh Shapiro’s proposed $52.37 million state investment in the 2024-25 budget, aimed at expanding opportunities and fostering innovation within Pennsylvania’s $132.5 billion agriculture industry. Notably, the proposal includes a $10 million agriculture innovation fund to assist farmers in modernizing operations to better navigate market shifts and environmental challenges.

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Grants ranging from $10,000 to $100,000 will be awarded for equipment purchases only, excluding facility upgrades, staffing, or other related expenses. This targeted approach ensures that funds directly support the enhancement of operational efficiency and capacity within the food supply chain.

Eligible businesses and organizations are encouraged to submit their proposals through the Department of Community and Economic Development’s Electronic Single Application by the May 15, 2024 deadline. Detailed information about the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure Grants, including application guidelines, can be found on the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s website and in the March 30, 2024, issue of the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

This strategic investment in Pennsylvania’s agriculture sector is poised to have far-reaching effects, not only in supporting the state’s farm businesses but also in ensuring a stable, resilient food supply for Pennsylvanians. By addressing critical needs within the supply chain, these grants represent a key step forward in achieving a sustainable, prosperous future for Pennsylvania agriculture.

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