NSAC's Blog

$9 Million in Funding Available for Risk Management Training

May 30, 2018

Photo credit: USDA

This week, USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) announced the availability of nearly $9 million to support risk management farmer education grants. Funded projects will be awarded through two distinct but related RMA grant programs: the Risk Management Education Partnership Program (RMEP) and the Crop Insurance in Targeted States (TS) program.

Additional details on each funding opportunity and application guidelines are provided below and online.

Risk Management Education Partnership Program

Approximately $4.16 million of the total funding announced will support funded projects through RMA’s Risk Management Education Partnership Program (RMEP). The Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Request for Applications (RFA) is now available on the RMA website. There are a few changes to this year’s RFA, including new grant priorities (see below), and a longer project period.

Applicants have 60 days to prepare and submit their completed applications by the July 30 application deadline.

The goal of the RMEP program is to help producers use the full range of risk management tools, including (but by no means limited to) crop insurance. In fact, the program prioritizes educating and training producers who do not have access to traditional crop insurance, as well as producers of commodity crops like livestock and forage that have below-average participation in crop insurance.

Specific project priorities outlined in this year’s RFA, include:

  • General crop insurance 101 education, including benefits for beginning farmers
  • Whole Farm Revenue Protection
  • Rainfall Index Insurance
  • Livestock risk management products
  • Cover crops and soil management practices
  • Crop insurance education to tribes
  • Food handling and produce safety
  • Recordkeeping and loan requirements

For a more detailed and complete list of project priorities, refer to the RFA.

Eligible applicants include NGOs, CBOs, Extension, State Departments of Agriculture, producer groups, colleges and universities, and faith-based groups.

Proposed projects should target U.S. producers and ranchers who are not normally reached. Target audiences may include:

  • New and beginning farmers
  • Farmers or ranchers that are preparing to retire and are using transition strategies to help new farmers or ranchers get started
  • Legal immigrant farmers or ranchers
  • Minority producers
  • Veterans
  • Women
  • Farmers and ranchers marketing their products as part of a local or regional food system
  • Livestock producers
  • Organic producers
  • New or established farmers or ranchers that are converting production and marketing systems to pursue new markets
  • Small farms or ranches
  • Sustainable producers
  • Value-added producers

There are eight Risk Management Agency offices around the country that will manage the program and generally are collaborators with the awardees. Applicants apply to a specific office based on the project location.

  • Billings, Montana Regional Office: MT, ND, SD, and WY
  • Davis, California Regional Office: AZ, CA, HI, NV, and UT
  • Jackson, Mississippi Regional Office: AR, KY, LA, MS, and TN
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Regional Office: NM, OK, and TX
  • Raleigh, North Carolina Regional Office: CT, DE, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VA, VT, and WV
  • Spokane, Washington Regional Office: AK, ID, OR, and WA
  • Springfield, Illinois Regional Office: IL, IN, MI, and OH
  • St. Paul, Minnesota Regional Office: IA, MN, and WI
  • Topeka, Kansas Regional Office: CO, KS, MO, and NE
  • Valdosta, Georgia Regional Office: AL, FL, GA, SC, and Puerto Rico

Projects will be funded for up to 18 months, with a start date of September 29, 2018. Grants will be awarded in two funding categories: 1) up to $99,999, and 2) $100,000 and above. Funding in recent years has averaged a bit over $91,000 per project.

Applications are accepted online via the Results Verification System (RVS) and the deadline is July 30, 2018 at 5:00pm EDT.

Targeted State (TS) Education Program

RMA has also released the new FY18 RFA for the Targeted States Crop Insurance Education Program. Under that program, $4.73 million is available specifically for crop insurance education in the 17 states that historically have had the lowest level of participation in the federal crop insurance program: all of the Northeastern states from West Virginia to Maine, as well as Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming.

Each state has a designated portion of the overall $4.73 million in funding, so read the RFA carefully (see page 12 of the RFA for state funding levels). Grants in past years have averaged a bit under $300,000 per award.

As with the nationwide Education Partnership Program, the Targeted State RFA also highlights the Whole Farm Revenue Protection Program as a target of this year’s funding.

Also, in particular, projects are sought that target beginning farmers, legal immigrant farmers, socially disadvantaged farmers, farmers that are planning to retire and are using transition strategies to help beginning farmers get started, and farmers who are transitioning production systems to pursue new market opportunities.

There are a few changes to this year’s RFA, including new grant priorities (see RFA for complete list of priorities), and a longer project period (up to 18 months).

Applications are accepted online via the Results Verification System (RVS) and the deadline is July 30, 2018 at 5:00pm EDT.

Grant Application Reviewers Needed

In addition to seeking project proposals, RMA is also seeking reviewers to objectively evaluate grant applications against the published criteria in the two programs’ Requests for Applications (RFA).

Reviewers are chosen based on their knowledge, education, and experience related to: federal crop insurance; risk management in the agriculture sector (including production, legal, financial, marketing or human risk); and priority commodities or other criteria mentioned in the RFA.

At RMA’s discretion, panels may be conducted online or in-person. If in-person, travel and per diem expenses will be covered by RMA.

To be considered as a reviewer for these RMA programs, include in an email your Name; Occupation; Institution, Organization, or Business; Describe your area(s) of education and/or expertise as it directly relates to the criteria listed in the RFA; and Discuss any financial commitments or employment that may create a conflict of interest in reviewing applications.

Email reviewer nomination to RMA.Risk-ED@rma.usda.gov and indicate in the subject line if you are applying to be a RMEP or TS Reviewer (or both) by June 8, 2018.

Categories: Beginning and Minority Farmers, Commodity, Crop Insurance & Credit Programs, Grants and Programs

Comments are closed.