Our Initiative

Building a more resilient, diverse, and competitive food system

Regional Food Business Center Regions

In September 2022, USDA announced $400 million to fund the USDA Regional Food Business Center initiative. Twelve organizations were selected to lead efforts in their region and together serve all areas of the country. The USDA Regional Food Business Centers will support producers by providing localized assistance to access a variety of markets including linking producers to wholesalers and distributers. By strengthening connections between rural to urban areas, the Regional Food Business Centers will drive economic opportunities across the region, creating a more diversified and resilient food system. Collectively, the organizations selected to lead each Center reflect a cross-section of the varied institutions, organizations, and associations that must cooperate to achieve genuinely strong and distributed food systems. These organizations are engaging with grassroots food and farm organizations and employing a range of creative strategies to build food system resiliency. The USDA Regional Food Business Centers will target their work to historically underinvested communities in their region. 

The USDA Regional Food Business Centers have three main responsibilities: 

  • Coordination – The USDA Regional Food Business Centers act as regional hubs coordinating across geographic areas, with USDA, other federal, state, and tribal agencies with relevant resources, regional commissions, and the other Regional Food Centers. They also conduct outreach to underinvested communities and businesses.
  • Technical Assistance – The USDA Regional Food Business Centers provide direct business technical assistance to small- and mid-sized food and farm businesses (producers, processors, distributors, and other businesses within the food supply chain) and food value and supply chain coordination.
  • Capacity Building – The USDA Regional Food Business Centers provide financial assistance through business builder subawards up to $100,000 to support projects focused on emerging regional needs and businesses that are working towards expansion and other investment.


Making local foods more accessible in the Delta.


Building and expanding market opportunities in the Delta.


Helping small- and mid-size agriculture businesses expand.

"USDA's Regional Food Business Centers are central to our operations from strengthening supply chains to building on lessons learned during the pandemic. We’re creating new market opportunities in areas where the need is greatest."”"""
Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack
Source: Published on 'X', 2023 May 3
Featured Initiative

Increasing Cold Storage Capacity

The Delta Regional Food Business Center is committed to providing increased cold storage capacity in the region, giving local producers and processors shared access to much needed infrastructure improvements to reduce loss and maximize regional productions and profits. 

Cold storage
Cold storage


Yes. The Delta Regional Food Business Center will provide business builder awards up to $100,000 for small- to mid-size agriculture businesses. Our team is currently working with our partners to develop the specifics of our business builder program, and planning to launch in late-2024.


Yes, but there is a limit on the total value of awards to any one applicant. Any one business is limited to a maximum total of $100,000 across all business builder awards.

Yes. We are providing business builder grants to those working throughout the food supply chain, including, but not limited to, producers, processors, intermediaries, and distributors.

Yes, there is no limit on other(non-business builder) grants you may receive from USDA or other sources, EXCEPT you cannot fund the same work, purchases or activities with multiple grants. Each grant must have its own unique scope and deliverables. Multiple grants CAN be used to fund different phases of a project, for instance a value-added processing project using one grant to buy washing equipment and another grant to buy processing equipment (e.g., slicing, packaging).

Our team is busy building a portal to accept grant applications for the Delta Regional Food Business Center awards. Check back regularly for updates on the program launch.

Yes, but we will need an active partnership with you to complete the application accurately.

No, funds can only be used to improve the marketing and distribution of products after harvest – ‘from the farm gate to the plate.’ This program focuses on activities such as improving aggregation, cold chain storage and transport, value-added processing, branding and marketing, regional markets, etc.

Eligible costs for the business builder awards are determined by USDA policy. Further explanation and detail will be provided in more detail at the program launch in late-2024.

The USDA has determined eligible costs, which will be provided in more detail at the program launch in late-2024.

Our team is committed to expanding new markets for local agriculture businesses through outreach and partnerships. Over the course of the program, we plan to:

  • Host networking events, trade shows, in-person and online trainings.
  • Create new and expand existing rural grocer networks, establishing more direct connections to producers and processors. 
  • Create a regional brand to drive premium pricing or favorable product placement.

This is just a few of our big ideas!