United States-based coffee roasters, coffee farmers and other small businesses involved in the agricultural-product-to-food chain may be eligible for new pandemic relief grants tied to worker safety.
The United States Department of Agriculture’s Pandemic Response and Safety (PRS) grant program recently unlocked $650 million in available grant money for U.S. farmers, farmers markets and certain food-related businesses that took measures to protect workers from contracting COVID-19.
The grants, reserved for small businesses and nonprofits, may range anywhere from $1,500 to $20,000. Applications for the grants opened on Oct. 6 and will be accepted through Monday, Nov. 22, 2021.
Moving through its first round of funding, the program is especially geared toward small businesses and nonprofits in the agriculture and food production industries who may have slipped through the cracks of other large federal relief packages.
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While seeking to assist “specialty crop producers,” the program is made plainly available to coffee roasters (NAIS code: 311920), as well as other coffee-adjacent food businesses that may be involved in warehousing, transportation, production or cold storage.
The program is not explicitly targeted towards food and beverage retailers, such as cafes or coffee shops. The full list of eligible business types is available here.
The grants are designed to cover business expenses that occurred between Jan. 27, 2020 through Dec. 31, 2021, related to protecting workers from COVID-19.
According to the PRS program page, those expenses might include: workplace safety expenses, such as providing personal protective equipment, hand sanitizer or signage; market pivots, such as switching to online platforms, and related marketing expenses; retrofitting facilities with things such as physical barriers or fans; transportation services for workers or for the delivery of goods; worker housing; or worker medical expenses related to testing, vaccines or treatment.
The full breakdown of applicable costs can be found on the PRS program page.
According to the USDA, all grant applications will be reviewed following the application period, with no priority given based on when the application was submitted.