USDA announced the availability of $4.7 million in grants for food safety education, training and technical assistance projects that meet the needs of owners and operators of small to mid-sized farms, beginning farmers, socially-disadvantaged farmers, small processors, small fresh fruit and vegetable merchant wholesalers, food hubs, farmers' markets, and others.

The grants, offered through the Food Safety Outreach Program and administered by USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), are designed to help these stakeholders comply with new food safety guidelines established by the Food and Drug Administration under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

“As growing demand for local food creates new economic opportunities for small farms, beginning farmers, and others, we are committed to ensuring that all types of farmers and businesses have the tools they need to be successful,” says Tom Vilsack, USDA secretary. “By supporting projects that offer tailored training, education, and technical assistance for producers and processors of local food, these grants will benefit producers, the entire food supply chain, and consumers.”

A webinar for potential applicants is scheduled for April 19, from 2:30-3:30 p.m. EST. Applications are due June 2. See the request for applications on the NIFA website for more information.