Grant program can help recover costs associated with pandemic response, safety

Farm and Food

Creating a safe environment in response to the COVID-19 pandemic often means additional expenses for farmers, farmers markets, food processors, and distributors. 

A new U.S. Department of Agriculture program may be able to help. The Pandemic Response and Safety Grants program provides funding to help small scale specialty crop producers and processors, other select producers, meat and other processors, distributors, and farmers market recover some of the costs incurred, including for measures to protect workers.  

Expenses between Jan. 27, 2020 and Dec. 31, 2021 in following categories—workplace safety, market pivots, retrofitting facilities, transportation, worker housing, and medical—are eligible. The minimum funding request amount is $1,500. The maximum funding request amount is $20,000. Funding requests may range from $1,500 to $20,000. Examples of eligible expenses include expanding a pack shed to provide for social distancing for employees, the purchasing of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for farm employees, additional transportation costs for adjusted delivery or distribution routes, the installation of hand washing stations or other PPE measures at farmers markets, and additional utility expenses for expanded worker housing that met social distanced guidelines. 

Visit to apply. The deadline is Nov. 22. The application is two pages and simple to fill out. Applicants will need to apply for a DUNS number if they do not already have one, which takes five business days to return. For more information or assistance with the application process, email or call 301-238-5550.

Feature photo: Eligible expenses under the Pandemic Response and Safety Grants program may include PPE measures. Pictured is a sign advertising curbside pick-up availability at the Fallbrook Farmers Market.