Sparks, Nev. - April 11, 2022
The Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) went before the Nevada Legislature’s Interim Finance Committee (IFC) on Thursday, April 7, 2022, to request and seek approval for use of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for multiple work programs to continue to strengthen Nevada’s food systems and ensure food security for all.
“Ensuring that all Nevadans have access to food is a critical priority for me and my administration,” said Governor Steve Sisolak. “With the approval of programs from lawmakers on IFC last week, the Nevada Department of Agriculture will be able to bolster the state’s food systems and infrastructure, which is important as we recover from the pandemic.”
Due to additional stress on the State’s food systems as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NDA has administered over $469.9 million in federal and state allocated funds to improve food distribution and nutrition programs since March of 2020. The NDA quickly pivoted program funding processes for schools to continue meal services for students while they were closed and during distance learning, in addition to expanding support for food banks, ensuring they had the necessary funding to address the increase in individuals seeking food assistance. The NDA also supported the improvement of food inventory and distribution systems to provide easier access for Nevadans to buy locally produced food products and aided agriculture businesses to continue safely operating during the public health emergency.
“Creating resilient food systems that increase food security is part of our mission,” said NDA Director Jennifer Ott. “The additional funding from the American Rescue Plan Act will help ensure that our systems can supply food to our communities and expand economic opportunities for Nevada’s agribusinesses.”
Funding requests put forth before IFC were proposed with the intent to strengthen existing food security efforts as well as allow the NDA to establish new programming including a state meat inspection program; the Home Feeds Nevada Agriculture Food Purchase program, as outlined in SB370 during the 81st Legislative Session; and the Senior Nutrition and Wellness Program.
- State Meat and Poultry Inspection Program
- The NDA received $55,123 for this fiscal year to initiate the development of a State Meat and Poultry Inspection Program to support local meat processing. An inspection program will diversify market opportunities, strengthen local supply chains and ensure an adequate and safe meat supply. Through a cooperative agreement with the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, the state will implement the inspection program to expand inspection services to facilities wishing to sell meat and poultry products within Nevada, including smaller establishments in rural locations.
- Home Feeds Nevada Agriculture Food Purchase Program
- The Home Feeds Nevada Agriculture Food Purchase Program will help Nevada become more food secure, while creating economic opportunities for agricultural producers. The NDA received $2 million for Home Feeds Nevada from ARPA to purchase Nevada-grown, produced and processed foods that will be distributed through Three Square Food Bank and the Food Bank of Northern Nevada, to address food insecurity across the state.
- ARPA Food Security Programs
- The NDA received over $9 million to better serve Nevada’s food-insecure populations by investing in the needs of nonprofits engaged in food security and covering gaps exposed and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, setting Nevada up for long-term recovery. Funding will go toward supporting infrastructure needs, like upgrading food storage capabilities and distribution channels and to support food purchases by nonprofits.
- Senior Nutrition and Wellness Program
- The Senior Nutrition and Wellness Program received $400,000 toward nutrition services for food-insecure senior populations in Nevada. Funds will be used for the rebranding of the Commodity Supplemental Food Program to the Senior Nutrition and Wellness Program to increase program awareness and participation among Nevada’s income-eligible seniors, as well as for the purchase of fresh produce and other perishable supplemental food with increased nutritional value for food-insecure seniors in Nevada.
Additional information on all items presented to IFC on April 7 is available via Governor Sisolak’s press release or by visiting the webpage linked here.
About the Nevada Department of Agriculture
The Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) mission is to preserve, protect and promote Nevada’s agriculture. The department has 150 dedicated employees providing services in its five divisions, Administrative Services, Animal Industry, Food and Nutrition, Measurement Standards and Plant Health and Compliance. The department’s $232 million budget facilitates regulatory and administrative work in agriculture and food manufacturing industries, protecting public and environmental health and worker safety, and providing food distribution and oversight for the United States Department of Agriculture’s school and community nutrition programs.