October 7, 2021

$650 Million in Pandemic Response and Safety Grants Available from the USDA

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is requesting applications for the new Pandemic Response and Safety Grant program through its portal at https://usda-prs.grantsolutions.gov/usda.

The PRS Grant program will assist small businesses in certain commodity areas, including specialty crop producers, distributors and farmers markets. Small businesses and non-profits can apply for a grant to cover COVID-related expenses, including personal protective equipment, retrofitting facilities for worker and consumer safety, shifting to online sales platforms, transportation, working housing and medical costs.

The minimum funding request is $1,500 and the maximum is $20,000. The deadline to apply for the grant is 11:59 p.m. PT on Nov. 22, 2021. For more information, the PRS help desk can be reached at (301) 238-5550 or via e-mail [email protected]

Western Growers Action

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, Western Growers and several of its industry allies have repeatedly pressed USDA to provide this kind of assistance to growers who have incurred significant expenses to provide for worker safety. Fresh produce operations require the most labor out of any other commodity group, so our members had rapidly built up personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies, enhance hygiene and sanitation procedures, install infrastructure like plexiglass and designated employee areas to ensure social distancing, and ramp up worker training to ensure awareness of COVID guidance. Away from the fields and packing houses, growers also made concerted efforts to secure additional housing and transportation to ensure continued social distancing and quarantining options.

Read more about WG’s efforts to secure financial assistance for worker safety costs:

Western Growers Efforts Result in $700 Million from USDA for Worker Protection

Federal Affairs Column: COVID-19 Wanes but Relief Efforts Continue