Texas A&M AgriLife selected to create USDA Regional Food Business Center

Rio Grande Colonias USDA Regional Food Business Center, one of 12 in U.S., will serve Texas, New Mexico colonias


The U.S. Department of Agriculture, USDA, has selected Texas A&M AgriLife as one of 12 organizations that will each establish a Regional Food Business Center.

The centers 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 — closing gaps to success.

In September, USDA announced $400 million in available funding for this initiative, with $30 million to establish the Rio Grande Colonias USDA Regional Food Business Center.

Texas A&M AgriLife and USDA will enter into a cooperative agreement to establish the center, which will serve Texas and New Mexico, focusing on colonia communities.

“Texas A&M is proud to lead a part of this important national resource by establishing the Rio Grande Colonias Food Business Center,” said John Sharp, chancellor of The Texas A&M University System. “Increasing access to markets is critical for robust and competitive agriculture and natural resources systems.”

Beth Racine, DrPH, director of Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at El Paso, will lead Texas A&M AgriLife’s role to establish the Rio Grande Colonias USDA center, whose headquarters will be at the Texas A&M AgriLife center at El Paso.

“USDA is excited to be partnering with Texas A&M AgriLife on this innovative and unprecedented initiative,” said Jenny Lester Moffitt, USDA under secretary for marketing and regulatory programs. “By leveraging the expertise now available through these Regional Food Centers, USDA can offer unique support for local food systems development across the country.”