Tuesday, 31 January 2023

CDFA publishes public comment responses and announces new 2023 CUSP grant program application period

The 2023 California Underserved and Small Producers Program, or CUSP, grant program will provide critical drought relief technical assistance and direct financial assistance for small and medium scale producers or socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, as well as assistance with business planning, marketing strategies, and other economic recovery activities.

This program also supports organizations to act as “regional grant administrators” to provide direct grant assistance for underserved farmers and ranchers to aid in drought relief measures.

In anticipation of the upcoming grant solicitation, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, or CDFA, has published a summary of public comments received on the 2023 CUSP Grant Program draft RFA, during the public comment period from Nov. 4 to 18, 2022.

These public comments were collected to help inform the program’s components.

A summary of the comments and draft RFA can be found on the program’s website: www.cdfa.ca.gov/CUSP/.

CDFA will publish a final 2023 CUSP Grant Program RFA, with an anticipated application opening date of January 16, 2023. The application period will be open until March 16, 2023. The application will be available through the Amplifund platform.

For this round of funding, the CUSP Program has $2 million available under the Technical Assistance Grant Program for organizations supporting underserved farmers and ranchers, and $20 million for direct drought relief assistance for underserved farmers and ranchers through the CUSP Drought Relief Direct Farmer Grant Program.

The following entities are eligible to apply for technical assistance grants and/or administer block grant drought relief funds for farmers and ranchers: Non-profit organizations, tribal governments, county departments of agriculture, and resource conservation districts (RCDs). Technical assistance providers must have demonstrated expertise in assisting small-scale and medium-scale socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.

Eligible entities can apply for one or both of the 2023 CUSP Program components:

Technical Assistance to Support Underserved Farmers and Ranchers – Funding for technical assistance providers to support farmers and ranchers in applying for Federal and State drought relief grant programs and assistance with business planning, financial and marketing strategies needed to be resilient and stay in business during the on-going drought in California.

CUSP Drought Relief Direct Farmer Grant – Eligible entities are also able to apply as a “regional administrator” to distribute grant funds directly to individual farmers and ranchers to aid in addressing specific drought relief financial needs that have been experienced as a result of the on-going drought in California.

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