Press Release

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) today announced it has a cooperative agreement with the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) under the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure Program (RFSI). Through this agreement, USDA and the CNMI are working together to offer $2 million in competitive grant funding for projects designed to build resilience across the middle of the supply chain. The CNMI is accepting applications for this Infrastructure Grant funding through April 29, 2024.

In May 2023, USDA announced the availability of up to $420 million through RFSI to strengthen local and regional food systems. Through this program, AMS has entered into cooperative agreements with state agencies, commissions, or departments responsible for agriculture, commercial food processing, seafood, or food system and distribution activities or commerce activities in states or U.S. territories. RFSI is authorized by the American Rescue Plan. Updates for each state’s Request for Applications for the RFSI program are available on the AMS website.

“This partnership between USDA and the CNMI is allowing critical funding to reach areas of the supply chain that need it most,” said USDA Marketing and Regulatory Programs Under Secretary Jenny Lester Moffitt. “The projects funded through this program will create new opportunities for the region’s small and midsize producers to thrive, expand access to nutritious food options, and increase supply chain resiliency.”

Using RFSI funding, the CNMI Division of Agriculture will fund projects that aim to support and strengthen the middle of the islands’ food supply chain, both locally and regionally. Funded projects will target underserved food producers and processors by providing opportunities to improve availability of more value-added products, improving processing capacity, enhancing infrastructure, and increasing access to locally produced food products to consumers where processed food is widely consumed. The state’s priorities are informed by stakeholder engagement and outreach to underserved producers to better understand their needs.

“The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands has always been dependent on imports, and with the RFSI funding, it could provide a better opportunity for our islands to minimize the influx of imports and a better chance to improve locally processed food that can be substitutes of some imported food products”, said CNMI Division of Agriculture Director Jack Ogumoro. “Priorities of the RFSI funding will focus on projects that benefit the islands’ food supply chain and create new revenue streams and job opportunities for our islands and contribute to the economy as well.”

Those interested in receiving a subaward should apply directly through the CNMI Division of Agriculture Office by April 29, 2024. Request an application by contacting . AMS encourages applications that serve smaller farms and ranches, new and beginning farmers and ranchers, underserved producers, veteran producers, and underserved communities.

For more information, visit the AMS Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure webpage.