USDA Selects Region Five Development Commission (R5DC)
to Create USDA Regional Food Business Center
Serving the North Central United States, May 2, 2023 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced selections for the USDA Regional Food Business Centers (Regional Food Centers). Twelve organizations, including Region Five Development Commission (R5DC), have been selected to establish Regional Food Centers that will provide coordination, technical assistance, and capacity building to help farmers, ranchers, and other food businesses access new markets and navigate federal, state, and local resources, thereby closing the gaps to success. In September 2022, USDA announced $400 million available to fund this initiative.
USDA and R5DC will enter into a cooperative agreement to establish a North Central Regional Food Business Center, locally dubbed the “MiNKota RFBC,” which will serve Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
“USDA is excited to be partnering with Region Five Development Commission on this innovative and unprecedented initiative,” said Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt. “By leveraging the expertise now available through these Regional Food Centers, USDA can offer unique support for local food systems development across the country.”
Mid-Minnesota Development Commission Executive Director Eric Day shared, “This is a unique opportunity to build on multi-state assets and serve the ag economy, with an intentional focus on underserved small to mid-sized food value-chain businesses. MMDC will proudly follow the lead of both the USDA and R5DC to serve our ag community as a contributor to the North Central Regional Food Business Center. We are beyond grateful for this incredible investment to strengthen food-focused businesses throughout and well beyond our four-county region.”
Collectively, the organizations selected reflect an impressive cross-section of the varied institutions, organizations, and associations that must cooperate to achieve genuinely strong and distributed food systems. Region Five Development Commission and the other selected organizations are already engaging with grassroots food and farm organizations and employing a range of creative strategies to build food system resiliency in their regions.
In total, USDA will establish 12 Regional Food Business Centers that will serve all areas of the country. Regional Food Centers will target their work to historically underinvested communities in their region.
More information is available on the Agricultural Marketing Service’s (AMS) Regional Food Business Centers webpage and on www.regionfive.org.