Local and Regional Food System Marketing Program Opens Up New Round of Funding
April 26th, 2013
The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has announced a request for applications for its latest round of funding for the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP). FSMIP is a small program designed to assist states to explore new market opportunities through research and innovation.
As the title suggests FSMIP is targeted towards state agencies. Eligible applicants include State departments of agriculture, State agricultural experiment stations, State universities, and other appropriate State Agencies. State level applicants are encouraged to partner with industry groups, academia, community-based organizations, and other stakeholders in their proposed projects.
Two previous priority categories remain for the 2013 round of grants:
- Creating wealth in rural communities through the development of local and regional food systems and value-added agriculture; and
- Developing direct marketing opportunities for producers, or producer groups.
But this years Request For Applications includes a new and timely priority area:
- Assessing challenges and developing methods or practices that could assist local and regional producers in marketing agricultural products that meet the mandates of the Food and Drug Administration’s new Food Safety Modernization Act.
Eligible agricultural categories include the usual — livestock, livestock products, food and feed crops, fish and shellfish, horticulture, viticulture, apiary, and forest products and processed or manufactured products derived from such commodities. In addition, however, AMS is now also accepting proposals dealing with nutraceuticals, bioenergy, compost, agroforestry products, and products made from agricultural residue.
Proposals may deal with barriers, challenges, or opportunities manifesting at any stage of the marketing chain including direct, wholesale, and retail. Proposals should benefit multiple producers or businesses and multi-state proposals are eligible for funding. Proposals may involve small, medium, or large scale agricultural entities but should potentially benefit multiple producers or agribusinesses. Proprietary proposals that benefit one business or individual will not be considered. Smaller scale projects may serve as pilot projects or case studies useful as models for other states.
A stakeholder should contact an appropriate state agency about FSMIP if the stakeholder has a project idea that could benefit from FSMIP funding.
Past award recipients include NSAC members such as:
- The Center for Rural Affairs and the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society working with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to foster development of regional food systems in Nebraska.
- Connecticut Northeast Organic Farming Association and CitySeed working in cooperation with the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, Connecticut Farm Bureau, and University of Connecticut to improve their BuyCTGrown website in order to increase capacity for local food retail and wholesale sourcing.
- The New York branch of the Northeast Organic Farming Association working with its state Department of Agriculture and Markets, Cornell Extension Service, Central New York Bounty, the New York Small Scale Food Processors Association and University of Illinois Extension to educate bed and breakfast operators about opportunities to feature locally produced food and agricultural products in meals served to their guests, and to measure the economic impact on producers of sales made through this specialized marketing channel.