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Program Overview

The New Jersey Department of Agriculture (NJDA) is inviting applications for funding opportunities under the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Marketing Service's (AMS) Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure Program. The NJDA was allotted a total of $3,437,002 in competitive grant funding for projects that aim to enhance the capacity of aggregating, processing, manufacturing, storing, transporting, wholesaling, and distributing locally and regionally produced food products. These include specialty crops, dairy, grains for human consumption, aquaculture, and other food products. Ineligible products include meat and poultry, wild-caught seafood, exclusively animal feed and forage products, fiber, landscaping products, tobacco, or dietary supplements.

There are two ways to apply for RFSI funding:

  1. Infrastructure Grant Application – Projects requesting more than $100,000 that intend to develop new, middle-of-supply-chain infrastructure for eligible agricultural products. The USDA has defined a funding range of $100,000 - $3,000,000 per application, but it is important to consider that the NJDA intends to award our total allotted federal funding ($3,437,002) equitably across multiple industries and projects. Applications must provide a 50% match in funding, 25% if the applicant entity qualifies for a reduced match. See RFSI program scope and requirements for more information.
  2. Simplified Equipment-Only Application – Projects requesting between $10,000 and $100,000 for equipment purchases related to middle-of-supply-chain activities. There is no match requirement for simplified equipment-only projects.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Agricultural producers or processors or groups of producers/processors
  • Nonprofit organizations operating middle-of-the-supply-chain activities
  • Local government entities operating middle-of-the-supply-chain activities
  • Tribal governments entities operating middle-of-the-supply-chain activities
  • Institutions such as schools, universities or hospitals bringing producers together to establish cooperative or shared infrastructure or invest in equipment that will benefit multiple producers.

Examples of RFSI Allowable Activities

  • Expanding processing capacities, including adding product types, increasing production volumes, and supporting new wholesale/ retail product lines
  • Modernizing equipment or facilities through upgrades, repairs, or retooling (e.g., adapting product lines for institutional procurement or adding parallel processing capacity)
  • Purchase and installation of specialized equipment, such as processing components, sorting equipment, packing and labeling equipment, or delivery vehicles
  • Modernizing manufacturing, tracking, storage, and information technology systems
  • Enhancing worker safety through adoption of new technologies or investment in equipment or facility improvements
  • Construction of a new facility
  • Increasing packaging and labeling capacities that meet compliance requirements under applicable laws (e.g.sealing, bagging, boxing, labeling, conveying, and product moving equipment)
  • Increasing storage space, including cold storage
  • Develop, customize, or install climate-smart equipment that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, increases efficiency in water use, improves air and/or water quality, and/ or meets one or more of USDA's climate action goals.

Identified Funding Priorities

  1. Projects submitted from a wide range of entities involved in New Jersey’s food system, from individual growers and producers to larger food aggregators and agricultural collectives.
  2. Projects that directly benefit or are submitted by applicants who meet the USDA’s definition of Beginning Farmer or Rancher, Veteran Farmer or Rancher, Limited Resource Farmer or Rancher, Socially Disadvantaged Farmer or Rancher, Small Disadvantages Business, Women-Owned Small Business and/or Historically Underserved Farmers and Ranchers.
  3. Projects that promote or expand the distribution capabilities for producers of eligible agricultural products to middle-of-the-supply-chain organizations.
  4. Projects that improve food safety conditions through the purchase of special-purpose equipment such as eco-friendly delivery vehicles, modern cold storage solutions, and efficient packing lines.
  5. Projects that aim to help entities comply with new laws and regulations associated with worker and food safety, water quality, and other applicable areas.
  6. Projects that increase the marketability of agricultural products for multiple producers through value-added activities such as repackaging or repurposing products.
  7. Projects that increase on-farm processing capabilities, allowing businesses across the agricultural industry to meet increasing demand in their respective markets.
  8. Projects that develop the infrastructure necessary to introduce new agricultural products into the New Jersey Food System.
  9. Projects that further develop local sustainable processing, storage and distribution as a means of food security and providing additional availability of products for the Food Deserts and Underserved Communities of the state.
  10. Projects that build aggregation models where producers can donate and/or sell produce for distribution to food security organizations.
  11. Projects that improve cleaning and packaging conditions for organizations that perform food gleaning and food rescue operations.

How to Apply

The NJDA requests that all interested organizations representing New Jersey’s Food Systems Infrastructure industry submit project proposals via e-mail to for consideration for this funding on or before March 15, 2024 at 5 p.m. EST. Any applications received after this deadline will not be considered.

All proposed projects must follow a standardized and federally compliant format. Please follow the application checklist below for submission materials:

  1. RFSI Infrastructure Grant Application – PDF
  2. RFSI Infrastructure Grant Application – WORD
  3. RFSI Equipment-Only Grant Application – PDF
  4. RFSI Equipment-Only Grant Application – WORD
  5. Verification of Matching Funds Letter Template (Required for Infrastructure Projects)
  6. Critical Resource Infrastructure Letter Template (Required for Infrastructure Projects)
  7. RFSI Match Calculator (for personal use, not for submission)

For questions, please contact Deelip Mhaske at (609) 913-6628 or

Related Communications

  1. RFSI Program Scope and Requirements
  2. RFSI Specific Terms and Conditions
  3. RFSI Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
  4. NJDA Invitation to Apply for RFSI