From USDA AMS:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) seeks comments regarding the development, coordination and implementation of grant programs to support food processing, distribution, seafood processing, farmers markets, and producers and other businesses identified in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. The legislation directs USDA to use these grant funds to help businesses respond to coronavirus, including for measures to protect workers against COVID-19. [Note: Aquaculture producers will be eligible for these.]
Comments can be submitted through midnight ET on March 31, 2021, via online portal or by email to AMSCOVIDStimulus@usda.gov. USDA welcomes feedback from all interested parties, and appreciates early response. Additional information is available on the AMS website.
In addition, AMS will host listening sessions to provide groups and individuals an opportunity to share their views on how USDA can best serve industries through this program. All interested stakeholders are invited to attend. Stakeholders are also invited to register to provide oral comments during the session. Listening sessions will be conducted via webinar using ZOOM.
Dates and Times:
March 17, 2021 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET Pacific and Alaska Fisheries - Register in advance for this webinar
March 18, 2021 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico Fisheries - Register in advance for this webinar
March 19, 2021 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET Agriculture Industries (general) - Register in advance for this webinar
Registration: Registration will remain open until the start of the event, or until the session is full. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. Registrants who request to speak will be contacted by a staff member and must participate in a practice session to test audio requirements. Speakers will be introduced by a moderator; and speaking time is no more than three minutes.
Contact: Questions regarding the listening session can be directed to AMSCOVIDStimulus@usda.gov. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication (Braille, large print, audio tape, etc.) should contact the USDA Target Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).
AMS encourages comments from smaller businesses, new and beginning farmers and ranchers, socially disadvantaged producers, veteran producers, and underserved communities, and/or organizations representing these entities. AMS expects commenters writing or speaking on behalf of these entities to engage and involve them in planning comments.
Background: Sec. 751 of the COVID Stimulus Package, part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, provides no less than $1.5B to purchase food and agricultural products, including seafood, fresh produce, dairy, and meat products, to distribute to individuals in need, including through delivery to nonprofit organizations that can receive, store, and distribute food items, and for grants and loans to small or midsized food processors or distributors, seafood processing facilities and processing vessels, farmers markets, producers, or other organizations to respond to coronavirus, including for measures to protect workers against COVID–19.