Farmers and consumers alike benefit from improved access to fresh, healthy, local food. Farmer-to-consumer connection points (such as farmers markets and food hubs) create economic opportunities for small and mid-sized family farms, increase consumer choice and access to fresh and healthy food, and improve economic outcomes for rural and food producing communities. Building connections that translate into increased market opportunities for farmers and increased healthy food access for consumers, however, can take a considerable amount of work
The Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program (FMLFPP) is a competitive grants program that can help develop and build-out those connections by funding direct-to-consumer marketing strategies. FMLFPP also provides support for local and regional food business enterprises acting as intermediaries between producers and consumers.
Learn More About FMLFPP:
FMLFPP is an expanded version of the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP), a competitive grants program originally authorized in the 2002 Farm Bill with the aim of increasing and strengthening direct producer-to-consumer marketing channels. The program now also includes support for local and regional food business enterprises that act as intermediaries between producers and consumers by aggregating, storing, processing, and/or distributing locally or regionally produced food products to meet market demand.
The 2018 Farm Bill reauthorizes FMLFPP as part of a new umbrella program called the Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP). However, FMLFPP will continue to be administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and maintain its two subprograms: 1) the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) and 2) the Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP). FMPP and LFPP issue two separate, but concurrent, Requests for Applications (RFAs) each year.
The term “local or regional food” for the purposes of these grants is defined as a food product that is raised, produced, aggregated, stored, processed, and distributed in the locality or region where the final product is marketed to consumers. The total distance the product is transported must be within 400 miles from the origin of the product, or both the final market and the origin of the product must be within the same state, territory, or tribal land.
Food Safety is now an eligible activity for both FMPP and LFPP grants. As part of LAMP, FMLFPP can now provide limited financial assistance for expenses relating to costs incurred in obtaining food safety certification and making changes and upgrades to practices and equipment to improve food safety.
For both FMPP and LFPP projects, USDA gives priority to projects that either primarily serve low income/low food access communities (as defined by USDA in its ERS Food Access Research Atlas map); or to those projects that involve Promise Zone Lead Applicant Organizations.
A cash or in-kind match, in an amount equal to 25 percent of the total cost of the grant, is required for both FMPP and LFPP.
For both FMPP and LFPP projects, the following entities are eligible to apply: agricultural businesses; agricultural cooperatives; producer networks; producer associations; community supported agriculture (CSA) networks (a CSA comprised of a group of farms, and not just a single farm); CSA associations (a group that represents, assists, or serves a CSA or CSA network); local governments; nonprofit corporations; public benefit corporations; economic development corporations; food councils; regional farmers market authorities; and tribal governments.
Since 2006, FMLFPP has provided over $163 million in grant awards to over 1,500 organizations in all 50 U.S. States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam.
The following are examples of ways in which organizations have utilized FMPP:
The following are examples of ways in which organizations have utilized LFPP:
Read more about recent FMLFPP awardees by viewing a list of previous FMPP and LFPP Awards:
Each year, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) publishes an RFA in the Federal Register and solicits applications from eligible organizations. There is no set timeframe for when the RFA is released, though AMS tries to get it published during the first quarter of each calendar year. Each RFA typically gives applicants around 60-90 days to prepare and submit their applications for grant funding.
More information about applying for AMS grants, including FMLFPP, is available through the AMS website. Also, be sure to check out NSAC’s Local and Regional Food Systems Blog to get up to date information on the latest RFA and awards.
To learn more about FMLFPP and other USDA programs helping to develop and expand local and regional marketing opportunities for farmers, check out the following resources:
NSAC has championed FMLFPP and its predecessor program, FMPP, for over a decade. NSAC advocated for the creation of FMPP in the 2002 Farm Bill, but the program was not launched until 2006 when the program first received funding through annual appropriations process.
In the 2008 Farm Bill, NSAC helped secure first-time mandatory funding for FMPP at $33 million over 5 years. NSAC also helped to ensure that important policy changes to FMPP were made, including expanding the type of projects and entities eligible for funding.
The 2014 Farm Bill expanded FMPP into FMLFPP by broadening the program’s authority to provide grants for local and regional food enterprises that are not direct producer-to-consumer markets, but instead act as intermediaries between producers and consumers. FMLFPP also supports direct-to-consumer marketing channels like farmers markets and CSAs. The 2014 Farm Bill also increased funding for FMLFPP from $10 million per year in the final years of the 2008 Farm Bill, to $30 million per year.
The 2018 Farm Bill reauthorized FMLFPP through a new umbrella program called the Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP), combining FMFLPP with the Value-Added Producer Grant Program (VAPG). Although FMFLPP has permanent mandatory funding as part of LAMP – a major victory for NSAC and our allies in the local/regional food community – FMLFPP itself actually receives less annual funding than it did under the 2014 Farm Bill. The 2018 Farm Bill provides LAMP with $50 million in mandatory funding per year, of which $23.5 million is reserved for FMLFPP, $17.5 million for VAPG, $5 million for a new Regional Partnership Program, and $4 million for outreach, evaluation and administrative expenses.
Even as a part of LAMP, FMLFPP’s mission, grant priorities and activities are expected to remain largely as they were during the 2014 Farm Bill – with a few notable changes:
Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program Funding
|Fiscal Year||Total Farm Bill Mandatory Funding (in millions)|
|5 yr total||$117.5|
|10 yr total||$235|
Please note: The funding levels in the chart above show the amount of mandatory funding reserved by the 2018 Farm Bill for this program to be provided through USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation. However, Congress does at times pass subsequent appropriations legislation that caps the funding level for a particular year for a particular program at less than provided by the farm bill in order to use the resulting savings to fund a different program. Therefore, despite its “mandatory” status, the funding level for a given year could be less than the farm bill dictates should the Appropriations Committees decide to raid the farm bill to fund other programs under its jurisdiction. In addition, FMLFPP is subject to automatic cuts as part of an annual sequestration process established by the Budget Control Act of 2011.
For the most current information on program funding levels, please see NSAC’s Annual Appropriations Chart.
Section 10102 of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 amends subtitle A of the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 (7 U.S.C. 1621 et seq.) by adding Section 210A Local Agriculture Market Program.
Last updated in April 2019