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Introduction

New grant: Pandemic Response and Safety Grant Program (USDA)

New grant: Pandemic Response and Safety Grant Program (USDA)

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New Grant: Pandemic Response & Safety Grant Program (from USDA)

Summary: The USDA recently opened the Pandemic Response and Safety (PRS) Grant Program which provides grants of up to $20k to specialty crop producers and processors, other select producers, meat and other processors, distributors, and farmers markets to respond to coronavirus, including for measures to protect workers against COVID-19 and pivot to online sales.

Eligibility: Small businesses or non-profits in those areas must meet size standards outlined here - have your NAICS code ready.

Timeline:

  • Applications open October 6, 2021
  • Applications close: 11:59 PM Eastern Time on November 22, 2021

All applications submitted before the deadline will be considered for funding. Applications will not be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Read the full FAQ here on USDA's PRS site.

Who’s eligible

Small businesses or non-profits that fall into one of the subsectors below, have a relevant NAICS code, and meet the size standards are eligible to apply. Farmers markets can also apply and do not need to use a NAICS code.

Eligible producer codes and size standards are listed under:

  • Subsector 111 — Crop Production
  • Subsector 112 — Animal Production and Aquaculture

Eligible processor codes and size standards are listed under:

  • Subsector 115 — Post-Harvest Crop Activities
  • Subsector 311— Food Manufacturing

Eligible distributor codes and size standards are listed under:

  • Subsector 424 — Merchant Wholesalers, Nondurable Goods
  • Subsector 493 — Warehousing and Storage

To check your eligibility by NAICS code and size, click here.

How much can you request? For what uses?

You can request funds to cover expenses incurred or expected to be incurred between 1/27/2020 and 12/31/21. You must request between $1500 and $20,000 in total. Funds are requested separately for each of the following categories:

Workplace Safety: Implementing workplace safety measures to protect workers against COVID-19

- Provide personal protective equipment, thermometers, cleaning supplies, sanitizer, or hand washing stations
- Installation and purchase of air filters or new signage

Market Pivots: Implementing market pivots to protect workers against COVID–19
- Develop and implement online platforms
- Utilize online or print materials to communicate market pivots

Retrofitting Facilities: Retrofitting facilities for worker and consumer safety to protect against COVID–19

- Installation and purchase of protective barriers made of plexiglass or plastic sheeting, walk up windows, heat lamps/heaters, fans, tents, propane, weights, tables, chairs and lighting

Transportation: Providing additional transportation options to maintain social distancing and worker and consumer safety to protect against COVID-19
- Secure additional transportation services for workers
- Offer new delivery routes or distribution services

Worker Housing: Providing worker housing that protects workers against COVID-19
- Secure additional housing resources/services to maintain social distancing or to allow for quarantining of new or exposed employees

Medical: Providing health services to protect workers against COVID-19

- Offer or enable vaccinations, testing, or healthcare treatment of infected employees, including any paid leave due to COVID-19 infection

Again, you'll request funding in each of the bold categories above based on what you've already paid or expect to pay for each. Note: You cannot request funds for expenses already covered by federal dollars, like PPP or EIDL.

Record keeping

From the USDA's website: "For this grant, recipients should maintain sufficient records and documentation (receipts, emails showing distribution of PPE to workers, photographs of market pivots) to demonstrate that costs were incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the eligible expense categories as attested to in your application. Grant recipients and subrecipients are required to maintain all records pertaining to the grant for a period of 3 years after the final financial report has been submitted to USDA AMS, in accordance with Federal recordkeeping regulations. This requirement is provided in 2 CFR § 200.334 and the general award terms and conditions, which are published on the AMS website."

How to apply & timeline

First, you must request your DUNS number, which you can do here. Expect it to take up to 5 days. Then, find your NAICS code (unless your a farmers market which aren't required to use a NAICS code to apply). Finally, fill out the application, in which you'll need to estimate your past and future costs incurred by category, then submit.

You should receive an email with a reference number and copy of your application. Applications are not processed on a first-come, first-served basis, so you can expect to receive notification of within 7-8 weeks after the close of applications on November 22nd.

If you're approved for funding, you'll receive a Notice of Award to the email address used to apply. Note that the USDA may award you less than what you requested depending on the availability of funds.

Questions?

You can reach out to the USDA directly by emailing usda.ams.prs@grantsolutions.gov or calling (301) 238-5550. You can also email WISE WBC at wisecenter@syr.edu or book a short advising call using this link.