The U. S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) awarded nearly $1 million in grants through the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP) to strengthen and explore new market opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural products.
The FSMIP grant program, administered by AMS, includes $982,437 in matching grants to 12 projects in 10 states. FSMIP provides matching funds to state departments of agriculture, state agricultural experiment stations, and other appropriate state agencies to assist in exploring new market opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural products, and to encourage research and innovation aimed at improving the efficiency and performance of the marketing system.
“Success in farming is not about just growing a crop, it’s about growing a crop and knowing how to sell it,” said AMS Administrator Elanor Starmer. “FSMIP grants leverage Federal and State resources to develop innovative marketing programs to increase sales, which strengthen local economies and improve the bottom line for everyone.”
These USDA grants make a difference to diverse stakeholders across the nation. For example, under a 2014 FSMIP grant, the Maryland Department of Agriculture and its partners at the University of Maryland and Maryland Farm Bureau developed a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Model Contract and Contracting Guide to help farmers better manage risk and improve communications with their customers. The project was in response to some Maryland consumers who encountered problems with their CSA, leaving them without the CSA shares they had expected. The success of the guide reduced the need for regulation of Maryland’s CSA farms and has captured the interest of other state departments of agriculture.
USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative (KYF2) Initiative coordinates the Department’s work to develop strong local and regional food systems – including FSMIP projects. Over the course of the Obama Administration, USDA has invested close to $1 billion in 40,000 local food-related projects. Information on local and regional supply chain resources is available on the KYF2 website and the KYF2 Compass can help users locate USDA investments in their community. More information on how USDA investments are connecting producers with consumers, expanding rural economic opportunities, and increasing access to healthy food is available in Chapter IV of USDA Results on Medium.
For additional grant information on the awards, visit: https://www.ams.usda.gov/fsmip.
USDA works to strengthen and support American agriculture, an industry that supports one in 11 American jobs, provides American consumers with more than 80 percent of the food we consume, ensures that Americans spend less of their paychecks at the grocery store than most people in other countries, and supports markets for homegrown renewable energy and materials. Since 2009, USDA has provided $5.6 billion in disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; expanded risk management tools with products like Whole Farm Revenue Protection; and helped farm businesses grow with $36 billion in farm credit. The Department has engaged its resources to support a strong next generation of farmers and ranchers by improving access to land and capital; building new markets and market opportunities; and extending new conservation opportunities. USDA has developed new markets for rural-made products, including more than 2,500 biobased products through USDA’s BioPreferred program; and invested $64 billion in infrastructure and community facilities to help improve the quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/results.