The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced an investment of approximately $50 million in grants to support seafood processors, processing facilities and processing vessels through the Seafood Processors Pandemic Response and Safety Block Grant Program (SPRS).
The grant funding is set to be distributed through state agencies to help defray costs incurred by the seafood processing industry preparing for, preventing exposure to, and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of the allocations, the Washington State Department of Agriculture will receive over $2.4 million to assist with costs associated with safety protocols and response for seafood processing facilities and vessels.
How that funding will disperse through the state is not known at this time.
Recipients include state agencies, commissions, or departments responsible for agriculture, fisheries, wildlife, seafood, commercial processing, or related commerce activities within Alabama, Alaska, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and Washington, as well as the territory of American Samoa.
This program is funded by the Pandemic Assistance provided in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.
“USDA is working with agricultural and food businesses to ensure that, following the pandemic disruptions, they have the resources and tools to continue building more and better markets, and to thrive in 2022 and beyond,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt. “This funding for seafood processors and processing vessels will serve as a bridge, providing relief to an industry that was greatly affected by the pandemic as well as the resulting changes in consumer demand. This program is part of our larger pandemic assistance program, providing support to producers, distributors, processors and other small agricultural businesses to get our food system back on track.”
Seafood processors and processing vessels should apply directly through their state agency.
A listing of state contacts will be made available on the USDA website.
Additionally, states are encouraged to prioritize applications that benefit smaller processors and vessels, socially disadvantaged processors, veteran processors, and/or underserved communities.
For grants intending to serve these entities, applicants should engage and involve those beneficiaries when developing projects and applications.
A complete list of the SPRS grant recipients is available on the Agricultural Marketing Service website at: Seafood Processors Pandemic Response and Safety (SPRS) Block Grant Program.