March 18, 2011
NSAC submitted comments on the proposed rule for the Farmers’ Market Promotion Program (FMPP). The program, crafted by NSAC as part of the 2002 Farm Bill, strives to improve and expand producer-to-consumer activities including farmers’ markets, community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs, roadside stands, and agritourism.
Public comments on the proposed rule are due Monday, March 21. Written comments may be submitted online at http://www.regulations.gov. Comments should reference docket number AMS-TM-10-0088, TM-08-07.
As the number of farmers’ markets and other direct marketing outlets expand, the Farmers’ Market Promotion Program, already in high demand, could become increasingly popular. In order to ensure the funds are ultimately offering consumers with a variety of options to connect with producers, NSAC recommends a 25 percent set aside and guidelines to ensure that the funded projects represent a diverse array of producer-to-consumer direct marketing activities rather than the current, predominant focus on farmers markets.
Our comments also suggest modifications to three definitions, which if adopted will strengthen the intended focus of FMPP to benefit agricultural producers and their consumers. Additionally, we suggest enhanced efforts to diversify the applicant pool to include more producer groups and cooperatives instead of mostly nonprofits. Regarding the program’s application process, we support an electronic submission system for FMPP applications. Such a system would offer models for future grant applicants and would streamline the application materials for the review panel.