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2024 Awards Announced for Business Builder Grants

WASHINGTON, June 28, 2024 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) North Central Regional Food Business Center today announced $600,000 awarded in Business Builder grants to provide financial assistance for small and mid-sized farm and food businesses. The funding is being awarded to 15 projects across North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota.

“These Business Builder grants awarded by USDA and the North Central Regional Food Business Center are providing essential capital to help local and regional farm and food businesses and their communities prosper,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt. “These grants are just one example of how the Regional Food Business Centers are supporting USDA’s work to build a more fair, resilient, equitable, and competitive food system.”

The North Central Regional Food Business Center is awarding Business Builder grants to five projects in each of the three states, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota. The awarded projects serve small to mid-sized food value chain businesses and fund local food aggregation and distribution, technology advancements and activities including feasibility studies, market assessments, and succession planning. The grant recipients were selected through a rigorous two-step review process that included a comprehensive scoring rubric and review panel.

“These awards can transform our food value chain by serving businesses who have historically struggled to secure federal investments,” said Cheryal Hills, the Executive Director of Region Five Development Commission who is the lead cooperative partner for the North Central Regional Food Business Center. “We are all proud of how capacity being built through these investments will create multiple forms of wealth beyond economic impacts as they realize social, environmental and cultural benefits as well.”

This is the first award announcement for the North Central Regional Food Business Center. The Center will accept proposals for future rounds of funding in the spring of each year during the five-year program for subawards of up to $50,000 each.This grant program is part of the USDA Regional Food Business Center Program, which works to create a more resilient, diverse, and competitive food system by providing coordination, technical assistance and capacity building, linking producers to wholesalers and distributors and building regional markets. For more information on the Business Builder grants available through the 11 Regional and National Intertribal Food Business Centers, visit the Regional Food Business Center Business Builder webpage.

The Regional Food Business Centers Program is led by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). AMS supports U.S. food and agricultural product market opportunities, while increasing consumer access to fresh, healthy foods through applied research, technical services, and congressionally funded grants. These projects will support local and regional food system capacity building and further USDA’s goal to increase small and mid-sized food and farm business opportunities. Learn more about the USDA Regional Food Business Centers Program.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit the latest Agricultural Marketing Service news at is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender 

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