USDA announced on October 6 that the application period for the new Pandemic Response and Safety Grant program is now open.
The $650 million program, funded by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, was created to “assist small businesses in certain commodity areas, including specialty crop producers” with “COVID-related expenses such as workplace safety measures (e.g., personal protective equipment (PPE), retrofitting facilities for worker and consumer safety, shifting to online sales platforms, transportation, worker housing, and medical costs.”
Applications must be submitted electronically through the grant portal at https://usda-prs.grantsolutions.gov/usda by November 22, 2021.
For the potato industry and other specialty crops, eligibility was raised to operations with $5 million or less in annual sales. This higher threshold is well above the initial $1 million cap announced by USDA.
“We are pleased USDA listened to feedback from NPC and others in the specialty crop industry and expanded their eligibility criteria,” said NPC CEO Kam Quarles. “However, operations of all sizes have committed significant resources to keeping their workers safe, and NPC will continue working with Congress and the Administration to provide all those in our industry with adequate and equitable relief.”