December 23, 2010
On Friday, December 23, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) issued a request for applications for FY2011 funding for the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP). Congress has yet to appropriate FY2011 funding for FSMIP. AMS program staff, however, decided to issue the notice prior to securing the funding to allow applicants time to leverage funding and submit applications and to give AMS time to process applications within FY2011. Proposals should benefit multiple producers or agribusinesses and multi-state proposals are eligible for funding. FSMIP proposals will be accepted through February 17, 2011. A Guide for FSMIP Applicants is posted on the FSMIP website.
Eligible applicants include State departments of agriculture, State agricultural experiment stations, State universities, and other appropriate State Agencies. These state applicants are encouraged to involve industry groups, academia, community-based organizations, and other stakeholders in developing proposals and conducting projects. A stakeholder should contact an appropriate state agency about FSMIP if the stakeholder has a project that could benefit from FSMIP funding.
FSMIP awards average about $50,000 and many of the projects support local food initiatives and direct marketing. Smaller scale projects may serve as pilot projects or case studies useful as models for other states. In FY2011, USDA is seeking proposals that:
• create wealth in rural communities through the development of local and regional food systems and value-added agriculture; or
• develop direct marketing opportunities for producers, or producer groups.
The FSMIP Program maintains a list of projects funded since 1999. Examples of projects funded in FY2010 and FY2009 include:
• $20,825 to the Maryland Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the University of Maryland and Maryland farmers market managers, to assess the economic impact of Maryland farmers markets, identify ways to expand the customer base and increase sales at farmers markets, and explore the feasibility of forming a statewide farmers market association.
• $62,485 to the Montana Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with Montana State University, the National Center for Appropriate Technology, Grow Montana Coalition, the Montana Farmers Union, the Alternative Energy Resources Organization, and the Lake County Community Development Corporation to use Web-based technology to foster an effective regional food system in Montana.
• $38,000 to the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources in cooperation with the Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture, UMass Extension, the Franklin County Community Development Corporation Food Processing Center, the New England Small Farm Institute, and the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, to determine market demand for locally-grown frozen fruits and vegetables and research the feasibility of using a mobile flash freeze processing unit to develop a new niche market in the region.