USDA Announces Pandemic Response and Safety Grant Program

      Posted On: September 21, 2021

Boise Farmers Market in Boise, ID. Photo by Guy Hand.

Updated: 10/14/2021

The USDA has opened applications for the Pandemic Response and Safety Program grant and is accepting applications through November 22, 2021.USDA is seeking applications to support agricultural stakeholders who haven’t yet received substantial federal financial assistance to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. The program will help small businesses in certain commodity areas including small specialty crop and aquaculture producers, food processors and distributors, and farmers markets.

Small businesses and nonprofits can apply for a grant to cover COVID-related expenses such as workplace safety measures, retrofitting facilities, shifting to online sales platforms, transportation, worker housing, and medical costs. The funding request can range from $1,500 to $20,000.

This grant opportunity is really exciting for farmers market organizations and vendors that have spent the past year taking on costly modifications to keep their communities safe.

The RFA and the PRS Grant Portal provide more details about eligibility for the grant. Eligible entities are required to obtain a free DUNS Number from Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) before applying for this program. USDA has created a custom PRS DUNS number portal.

Application resources, including Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), tip sheets in English and Spanish on applying for a DUNS Number, videos on “How to Apply” and more, are available on the PRS Grant Portal.

For more information, you can also reach out to the PRS help desk, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. ET at (301) 238-5550 or Check your eligibility, obtain a DUNS number, and learn more about the application process at the PRS Grant Portal.

We hosted a webinar with USDA AMS on October 13th to cover the basics that farmers market organizations need to apply to this grant program, watch the recording here.

We have been working closely with USDA AMS on a few key issues and want to highlight a few key points for farmers market operators and organizations:

  • We are happy to see a very simplified application portal for these programs, making it easier for applicants interested in the funds.
  • In response to FMC feedback, in addition to nonprofit organizations with 501(c)(3) status, organizations with 501(c)(4), 501(c)(5) and 501(c)(6) status are also eligible to apply.
  • Staff salaries are eligible expenses if staff shifted from their normal duties to implement COVID-19 response activities related to one of the activities listed in the approved eligible outcome categories (Workplace Safety Measures, Market Pivots, Retrofitting Facilities, Transportation, Worker Housing and Medical).
  • Organizations need a DUNS number to apply, if you do not have one, it takes at least 5 business days to process. The 9- digit unique DUNS number will be assigned, free of charge, to a valid business entity based on their Legal Business Name and physical location. This process can take up to 5 days and you cannot start your application until you have a DUNS Number.
    Don’t know if you already have a DUNS number? Look it up at:
    Need a new DUNS number? Apply at:
    Additional questions about DUNS Numbers? Contact the Application Helpdesk by phone at (301) 238-5550 or by emailing The helpdesk hours of operation are Monday – Friday, 9 AM – 9 PM EST.
  • Although the application release date was moved back from late September to early October, applicants still have 45 days to apply. Applications will close at 11:59pm ET on November 22nd.


Please reach out to our staff at with any additional questions you may have, or ask them on the FMC Listserv.