Kansas farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses in every corner of the state have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the state of Kansas is making emergency financial relief available from federal CARES Act funding to those who need it most. The Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas (SPARK) Task Force has approved more than $130 million in relief funding in the form of grants to eligible businesses.
 
One of these grants is the Securing Local Food Systems grant, which was created to support Kansas meat processing facilities, food processors, food banks, local direct-to-consumer producers and retail outlets to increase capacity of Kansas’ local food systems.
 
How to Apply
The application portal at kansascommerce.gov/covidrelief opens on Wednesday, August 19, at noon and will remain open until all funds have been expended. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis as they are submitted; notification of award decisions will occur as soon as possible, but the time frame will be affected by the volume of applications submitted. Any awarded funds must be spent by December 30, 2020.
 
Grant applications should be made for capacity-related improvements since March 1, 2020, through December 30, 2020. The grants will range from $2,500 to $125,000, depending on the type of applicant and the project scope.
 
It’s important to note that businesses and individuals can apply for grants in more than one category if they meet the basic eligibility requirement; some agribusinesses may also qualify for the Small Business Working Capital grants and PPE Procurement grants.
 
Eligibility
Specific eligibility requirements for the Securing Local Food Systems grant can be found at kansascommerce.gov/covidrelief. Eligible businesses and individuals include for-profit and not-for-profit businesses, direct to consumer producers/growers/vendors, food processors, slaughter and processing facilities, food banks, pantries, soup kitchens, farmers’ markets, and retail food outlets such as grocery stores.
 
Some of the specific eligibility criteria that apply to other grants within the CARES Act funding grant do not apply to the Securing Local Food Systems grant. This grant does not require businesses to have been in operation for any specific length of time, and it does not require showing incurred losses of revenues during COVID-19.
 
The grant money can be used for a wide scope of capital expenses related to increasing the capacity of the food-related businesses, including but not limited to: rental of buildings/facilities to expand capacity, facility reconfiguration to meet social distancing guidelines, technology that improves business resilience, costs associated with sanitation or worker safety, costs associated with increased inspections, and many more.
 
Questions?
Questions about the grant application or eligibility can be addressed to BackToBusiness@ks.gov. The Department of Commerce also has an online chat feature on the agency website at kansascommerce.gov/covidrelief that will be staffed by Commerce team members Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.–6 p.m. and weekends, 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
 
In addition, KDA will be prepared to answer questions from Kansas farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses who wish to complete the application. Call KDA at 785-564-6700 if you have agriculture-specific questions regarding the Securing Local Food Systems grant.
Kansas CARES Act Funding Opportunity