What resources are available to local producers?
Congress provided financial assistance to farmers who are experiencing severe financial losses during the pandemic. This included funding for the Pandemic Response and Safety Grant Program administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Pandemic Response and Safety Grant Program provided grants to food processors, distributors, farmers markets, and producers to respond to coronavirus, including for measures to protect workers against COVID-19.
Congress also provided a $9.5 billion dedicated disaster fund for specialty crop, dairy, livestock, and local food producers. Farmers and agricultural and rural businesses were also eligible to receive funding through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) through the Small Business Administration (SBA). U.S. farm producers received nearly $6 billion from PPP in 2020.
Since the PPP ended in May 2021, I’m not sure if this is still worth including; the stats available to me on PPP are from 2020.
Additional information and resources can be found through the following agencies and organizations:
Congress provided a $255 million allocation for fishery participants negatively affected by COVID-19 as part of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA), in addition to prior funding from the CARES Act. Rhode Island was recently allocated $2,967,000 through the CRRSA. You can read more about the funding HERE.
Furthermore, the USDA is administering the Seafood Processors Pandemic Response and Safety (SPRS) Block Grant Program through the RI Department of Environmental Management. The Seafood Processors Pandemic Response and Safety Block Grant Program provides grants to eligible state agencies and territories to support seafood processors, including at-sea processing vessels, to respond to coronavirus, including for measures to protect workers against COVID-19. You can read more about the status of the funds and the program HERE.
The RI Department of Environmental Management is conducting a direct-sale effort to assist support RI's commercial fishing and seafood industry during the COVID-19 Coronavirus crisis by helping connect consumers with retailers of local seafood. You can learn more about the program HERE.
Additional information and resources can be found through the following organizations: