USDA Grants Help Expand Local Food Opportunities

An update posted today at the USDA Blog by Elanor Starmer, the Agricultural Marketing Service Administrator, indicated that, “If there is one word that best embodies agriculture, it is entrepreneurship. Over the course of my time at USDA, I’ve had the chance to meet with farmers, ranchers and food business of all sizes and in all parts of the country. The faces of these entrepreneurs and their innovative strategies and business models reflect the diversity that makes this country strong. Each year, USDA helps thousands of agricultural producers and businesses enhance their marketing efforts and bring healthy, nutritious food to communities– and I’m excited that this week, we’ve announced another opportunity to support their work.

“My agency, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), announced the availability of more than $27 million in grants to help ensure the livelihoods of our nation’s farmers and ranchers while strengthening rural economies. The announcement included $26 million in AMS grant funding from the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program through the Local Food Marketing Promotion Program (LFPP) and the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP).

“There is also nearly $1 million available from the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP) through matching grants with state departments of agriculture, colleges or universities. These funds will support research projects to address challenges and opportunities in marketing, transporting, and distributing U.S. agricultural products domestically and internationally.”

Today’s update added that, “Over the past 10 years, the FMPP has awarded more than 870 grants totaling over $58 million. These efforts have been highlighted in the report, Farmers Market Promotion Program 2016 Report (PDF), demonstrating how USDA is helping create economic opportunities for producers by supporting local and regional projects like these that increase access to fresh, healthy food for rural and urban communities. All of these grants work together to help communities maintain their agricultural heritage and strengthen the local economy.”

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