BISMARCK, N.D. – March 17, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Congressman Kevin Cramer announced the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has made available $96 million in grants for new and innovative projects increasing access to new markets as well as providing American families greater nutritional options.
“The USDA grants will help local communities and families have access to a greater variety of nutritious food in the lunchroom and around the dining table. These efforts will help our farmers expand into new markets in the United States and across the globe,” said Cramer.
The grant programs administered by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) include the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP), the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP) and the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program which covers two types of grants: the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) and the Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP). Also included in the announcement is the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) Farm to School Program grants designed to assist eligible entities in implementing farm to school programs that improve access to local foods in eligible schools.
Over $63.2 million in SCBGP grants are allocated to U.S. States and territories based on a formula that considers both specialty crop acreage and production value. Interested applicants should apply directly through their State department of agriculture. A listing of state contacts and application due dates can be found at www.ams.usda.gov/scbgp.
The FSMIP provides $1 million in matching funds to State departments of agriculture, state colleges and universities, and other appropriate state agencies. Funds will support research projects that address challenges and opportunities in marketing, transporting, and distributing U.S. agricultural products domestically and internationally.
The Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program provides a combined total of $26.6 million divided equally between its two grant programs. The FMPP provides $13.3 million to support projects for direct farmer-to-consumer marketing projects such as farmers markets, community-supported agriculture programs, roadside stands, and agritourism. The LFPP offers $13.3 million in funds for projects that support intermediary supply chain activities for businesses that process, distribute, aggregate, and store locally- or regionally-produced food products.
Grant applications for FSMIP, FMPP and LFPP must be submitted electronically through www.Grants.gov by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on May 14, 2015. Applicants should start the Grants.gov registration process as soon as possible to ensure that they meet the deadline.
AMS will host a webinar on March 25, 2015, to introduce FMPP and LFPP to potential applicants and a teleconference about FSMIP on March 31, 2015. For more information about SCBGP, FSMIP, FMPP, and LFPP, including program background and webinar information, visit the AMS grants website: http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSgrants.
Nearly $6 million in competitive Farm to School Program grants is available for training, supporting operations, planning, purchasing equipment, developing school gardens, developing partnerships, and implementing farm to school programs. Proposals for planning, implementation, and support service grants are due by11:59 p.m. Eastern Time, May 19, 2015. Letters of intent for training grants are due by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time, April 30, 2015. To assist eligible entities in preparing proposals, USDA will host a webinar related to the application process on March 17, 2015 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time.
More information about the Farm to School Program grant program, upcoming webinars relevant to applicants, and sample grant applications can be found at: http://www.fns.usda.gov/farmtoschool/farm-school-grant-program.