Competitive grant funding is available through the 2018 Farm Bill’s Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP). The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is making $92.2 million available for LAMP grants. Funding for the grants is part of USDA’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers Initiative and is being made possible through the Farmers Market program. The initiative launched in March is aimed at filling the gaps in previous COVID-19 assistance coverage. An emphasis has been placed on providing support for underserved communities and small and mid-sized farming operations.
“We have an opportunity to transform our nation’s food system with a greater focus on resilient, local and regional food systems,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a press release. “These grants will help maximize opportunities for economic growth and ingenuity in local and regional food systems to kickstart this transformation. LAMP grants have a history of generating new income sources for small, beginning, veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers and creating new market opportunities for value-added and niche products.”
LAMP grants are designed to support producer-to-consumer marketing, local and regional food markets, as well as support the development of value-added ag products. USDA is awarding $76.9 million to the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program to support farmer’s markets and community-supported agriculture programs. A total of $15.3 million will be awarded through the Regional Food System Partnerships program to help bolster local food economies in a variety of ways.
USDA is encouraging projects that support ag businesses, associations, and governments in addressing the challenges created by COVID-19. LAMP grants are competitive with applications undergoing external peer review. Community partners or other stakeholders will be responsible for providing matching funds are part of the grants. Application deadlines and matching fund requirements are detailed in individual Request for Applications (RFA) and will vary by program. USDA’s Agricultural Marketing service will be providing technical assistance to help applicants with RFAs.