Food Safety Outreach Program

USDA-NIFA Food Safety Outreach Competitive Grant Program provides funding for food safety training and education for small and mid-sized producers and processors affected by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

In FY 2018, the Food Safety Outreach Program expanded upon the FY 2015 national infrastructure established by USDA-NIFA and FDA-CFSAN (National Food Safety Training, Education, Extension, Outreach, and Technical Assistance Competitive Grants Program). The program focuses on the delivery of customized training to small to mid-sized farms, beginning farmers, socially-disadvantaged farmers, small processors, or small fresh fruit and vegetable merchant wholesalers. Eligibility is quite broad,including,Cooperative Extension, NGOs and CBOs, Federal, State, local or tribal agencies, or institutions of higher education. Because the size and capabilities of eligible applicants varies widely, projects are awarded at three levels.

Pilot Projects

Pilot Projects support the development and implementation of new and potentially high-risk, high-impact food safety education and outreach programs in local communities that address the needs of small, specialized audiences among various target groups. For example, Pilot Projects may target non-traditional, niche, or hard-to-reach audiences, including those with cultural or language barriers. Project teams are encouraged to identify the specific training and education needs within their communities, and then to develop and implement food safety education and outreach programs that meet the very specific needs of those communities. In other words, Pilot Projects support the development and implementation of highly customized food safety education and outreach programs where no current community programs for food safety education exist.

Community Outreach Projects

Community Outreach Projects support the growth and expansion of already-existing food safety education and outreach programs currently offered in local communities. These projects enable existing programs to broaden their scope by reaching out to a larger number of participants, or to expand the programs to new and broader audiences. In addition, Community Outreach Projects enable existing education and training curricula and other resources to be modified to ensure that they are consistent with FSMA guidelines and that they meet the needs of expanded audiences. New audiences should include those from a variety of agricultural production and processing systems.

REgional center Projects

Regional Center projects(RC's) will support the infrastructure of the program by coordinating information within and among the 4 SARE regions across the US to ensure that best practices for FSMA related training, education, and technical assistance within local communities are translated to a national audience. RC's will ensure that there is a continued education and training for a cadre of regional FSMA trainers and continue to provide training for both growers and processors. Further, the RC's will focus on development of implementation plans for extending technical assistance to the targeted audiences of farmers, processors and vendors in their respective regions. For an additional $200,000, Regional Center project applicants may include objectives demonstrating an ability to provide a leadership role in coordinating all 4 of the regional projects by: 1) collecting program outcomes from each of the regions; 2) developing best practices for FSOP based on collated data from the 4 regions; and 3) review and recommend alternative curricula to FDA to ensure consistency with FSMA guidelines. Only one of the Regional Centers will be selected to serve as the Lead Regional Center with a total overall budget of $1,000,000.

The full Request for Application can be found on the NIFA website.

Program Tip Sheets

FSOP Awardees

Program Frequently Asked Questions

Program Contacts

External Resources