With some $650 million earmarked for funding, applications are being accepted by the USDA through 11:59 p.m. ET Monday, Nov. 22, for the Pandemic Response and Safety (PRS) Grant Program.
You’re urged to apply early, and all applications must be submitted electronically through the grant portal at https://usda-prs.grantsolutions.gov/usda.
The first step in applying is getting a DUNS number, which can take up to five days. Once DUNS number is secured, the application takes less than 10 minutes. The application, FAQs, tip sheets, and information on how to apply is on the PRS Grant Portal. Resources are also available in Spanish on the PRS webpage.
Small businesses and nonprofits in the following industries can apply for a grant to cover COVID-related expenses such as workplace safety measures (e.g., personal protective equipment (PPE), retrofitting facilities for worker and consumer safety, shifting to online sales platforms, transportation, worker housing, and medical costs:
- Specialty crop producers
- Shellfish farming, finfish farming, aquaculture, apiculture
- Specialty crop, meat, and other processors
- Farmers markets
Contact information for providers offering technical assistance on this grant application is available on the AMS PRS grant webpage under ‘Additional Resources’: https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/grants/prs.
If you’re unfamiliar with the program, here’s a quick summary: The
A: What is the Pandemic Response and Safety Grant Program?
Pandemic Response and Safety (PRS) Grant Program provides grants to food processors, distributors, farmers markets, and producers to respond to coronavirus, including for measures to protect workers against novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID–19). This program is authorized and funded under section 751 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (Pub. L. No. 116—260). USDA developed the PRS Grant Program in response to extensive stakeholder feedback during listening sessions in March 2021, and written comments provided through March 30, 2021. Information from the listening sessions is available online at: www.ams.usda.gov/services/ams-covid-stimulus.
B: How much funding is available? What can I use it for?
Approximately $650 million is available to fund applications through the Pandemic Response and Safety Grant Program (PRS). Funds will be used to issue grants for costs incurred between January 27, 2020, the date upon which the public health emergency was declared by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under section 319 of the Public Health Service Act, and December 31, 2021. Grants will cover the activities associated with:
- Workplace Safety: Implementing workplace safety measures to protect workers against COVID-19
- Provide personal protective equipment, thermometers, cleaning supplies, sanitizer, or hand washing stations
- Installation and purchase of air filters or new signage
- Market Pivots: Implementing market pivots to protect workers against COVID–19
- Develop and implement online platforms
- Utilize online or print materials to communicate market pivots
- Retrofitting Facilities: Retrofitting facilities for worker and consumer safety to protect against COVID–19
- Installation and purchase of protective barriers made of plexiglass or plastic sheeting, walk up windows, heat lamps/heaters, fans, tents, propane, weights, tables, chairs and lighting
- Transportation: Providing additional transportation options to maintain social distancing and worker and consumer safety to protect against COVID-19
- Secure additional transportation services for workers
- Offer new delivery routes or distribution services
- Worker Housing: Providing worker housing that protects workers against COVID-19
- Secure additional housing resources/services to maintain social distancing or to allow for quarantining of new or exposed employees
- Medical: Providing health services to protect workers against COVID-19
- Offer or enable vaccinations, testing, or healthcare treatment of infected employees, including any paid leave due to COVID-19 infection
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.
C: Am I eligible to apply for funds?
In this first round of PRS funding, USDA is targeting support to small businesses in certain commodity areas, farmers markets, and small specialty crop producers. According to stakeholder feedback, these entities were all significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and received insufficient federal support to address the costs they incurred to keep workers safe and help keep the U.S. food supply intact during the crisis. To target this support, producers, food processors/manufacturers, and wholesalers/distributors denoted in the Eligible Industry Table, and farmers markets are eligible to apply for funding. The Eligible Industry Table details the different business size standards for each eligible industry. The eligible entity types include:
- Small Businesses
All applicants must be domestic entities owned, operated, and located within the 50 United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
While USDA is focusing this first round of funding to 1) small producers, 2) food processors and distributors that meet small business size standards, and 3) farmers markets, USDA may expand eligibility in future rounds of funding to include additional businesses not covered by the first round. Future rounds are dependent upon availability of funds. USDA is also focusing this first round of funding on certain commodities due to the unique impacts of the pandemic on their businesses. USDA may expand eligibility in future rounds of funding to include commodities not covered by the first round.
No cost-sharing or matching funds are required. All PRS awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the PRS General Terms and Conditions.
D: How and when should I submit my funding application?
PRS applications are submitted online through this PRS Grant Program application website, click here to Apply. All applicants must obtain a DUNS number before applying. Information on how to obtain a DUNS number can be found on this website. Applicants must submit online a complete application package, which consists of the following forms:
- Applicant Organization Form
- PRS Activity Checklist (Appendix B)
Due to the expected high volume of applications and to help ensure they are processed in a timely manner, applications will be submitted through this website which was specifically engineered to handle high capacity.
E: What happens after I submit my application?
Once all applications are received, USDA will conduct the eligibility review process. Each application is reviewed using the following criteria:
- The application was submitted and received by USDA before the application deadline.
- The applicant is an eligible entity and meets the business size standards listed in the Eligible Industry Table.
- The application includes the required forms noted in Section D.
- The required forms are complete and accurate.
Applications that meet the abovementioned criteria will be deemed eligible for funding consideration. If an application does not meet these requirements, it will be removed from consideration.
Funding will be awarded after the close of the application and review periods. USDA reserves the right to prorate individual award amounts if the cumulative amount of funds requested is greater than the funds available. USDA also may target funding for different sectors depending upon the total need requested in each sector. All awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the PRS General Terms and Conditions.
F: How will I know if my application is approved? And how do I access the funds?
If an application is approved for funding, USDA will send a Notice of Award to the application point of contact, using a secure link sent via email. The Notice of Awards will include instructions for accepting funds.
G: Who can I contact for questions and help with my application?
If you have questions about applying or obtaining a DUNS number, visit this PRS application website or contact the Application Helpdesk by phone at (301) 238-5550 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The helpdesk hours of operation are Monday – Friday, 9AM-9PM ET.