Farmers’ Market Promotion Program


Program Basics

The Farmers’ Market Promotion Program (FMPP) aims to increase and strengthen direct producer-to-consumer marketing channels.  Through a competitive grants application process, FMPP funds marketing proposals for community-supported agriculture programs, farmers’ markets, roadside stands, and other direct marketing strategies.

Specific grant uses include developing relevant financial and marketing information, business planning, improving market access and education for consumers, organizing markets and direct marketing networks, and supporting innovative approaches to market management and operations.

Entities that are eligible for FMPP grants are groups of farmers, non-profit corporations, agricultural cooperatives, local governments, economic development corporations, regional farmers’ market authorities, public benefit corporations, and Tribal Governments.

The program is administered by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).  To date,  AMS has instituted a maximum grant award limitation of $100,000.

The 2008 Farm Bill makes the following changes to the Farmers’ Market Promotion Program:

  • Agri-tourism activities are included in the activities that the program supports;
  • Producer networks and associations are eligible to receive a FMPP grant;
  • No less than 10% of the funds for the FMPP will be used to support the use of electronic benefit transfers (EBT) for Federal nutrition programs (food stamps and WIC) at farmers’ markets and community-supported agriculture enterprises;
  • The Statement of the 2008 Farm Bill Managers clarifies that FMPP grants are intended to support all forms of direct marketing, including organizing, marketing, training, business plan development, community outreach and education, and other associated activities designed to establish or improve direct marketing opportunities for farmers, ranchers, and the consumers that they serve.

Section 10106 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act (FCEA) of 2008 amends Section 6 of the Farmer-to-Consumer Direct Marketing Act of 1976, to be codified at 7 U.S.C. Section 3005.

In the 2008 Farm Bill, funding for FMPP became mandatory for the first time, with an eleven-fold increase over previous discretionary levels.

The program now has $33 million over 5 years in mandatory funding divided in the following manner:

Farmers’ Market Promotion Program (FMPP) Funding

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

$3 M

$5 M

$5 M

$10 M

$10 M

 

Please note: The funding levels in the chart above show the amount of mandatory funding reserved by the 2008 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 Committee decide to raid the farm bill to fund other programs under its jurisdiction.

Implementation Basics

Each year, usually in the late winter, the USDA posts a Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) in the Federal Register to announce the beginning of a new grant cycle for FMPP.  USDA issued a proposed rule for the program on January 19, 2011, which NSAC submitted comments on.  The proposed rule has yet to be finalized.

A program priority for the 2011 application cycle included projects that expand food access in food deserts and low income communities.

For up-to-date application deadlines and links to the current RFA, please go to NSAC’s page on Farm Bill Programs and Grants.

Examples of Past Grant Recipients

Tohono O’odham Community Action, Arizona received $83,192 in 2011 to foster production of food traditionally farmed by the Tohono O’odham Nation, start a farm equipment and tool lending program, and organize and implement a series of “fresh sales” where growers and wild harvesters sell their products directly to the public.

 

Small Farm Institute of Fresno, Ohio received $32,572 in 2007 to help grass-fed beef producers market their products directly to consumers at farmers markets by conducting a series of workshops to identify strategies for production, processing, preparation, and marketing grass-fed beef products.

Everyone’s Harvest, California received $46,076 in 2011 to help farmers at the Monterey County farmers markets expand their business, develop promotional materials, conduct nutritional and recycling workshops, and develop a farm stand at California State University at Monterey Bay/Fort Ord.

Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture, Inc. (CISA), of South Deerfield, Massachusetts received $61,275 in 2006 to develop a new direct marketing channel for farmers by creating a community supported agriculture (CSA) program for workplace employees in western Massachusetts, while providing training and hands-on agricultural production and marketing experiences for new immigrant farmers and other small-scale agriculture producers.

Additional Resources

USDA Agricultural Marketing Service website