The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced updates to the performance measures for several programs. USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will be applying the updates moving forward beginning with the fiscal year 2022 grant cycle. The revised performance measures will apply to the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP), the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program, the Acer Access and Development Program, and the Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives.
“These improvements will make it easier for USDA AMS’ grant programs recipients to report their accomplishments,” AMS Administrator Bruce Summers said in a press release. “We are continuously trying to improve our customer service by making grant funding opportunities more accessible. These revised performance measures were developed from thorough stakeholder feedback and in close coordination with state departments of agriculture.”
The updated performance measures are intended to reduce some of the burdens for grant applicants and recipients. They will also assist AMS with the ability to more accurately report on the impact of the grant programs. The revision to performance measures will also more precisely reflect the accomplishments of grant recipients. Finally, the update is also meant to standardize measures across multiple programs where appropriate.
“We value our partnership with USDA-AMS and we’re proud that the new measures reflect feedback from State Departments of Agriculture,” said National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) Foundation Acting Executive Director Elizabeth Rowland. “U.S. farmers, producers and growers will benefit from the new measures.”
The effort was undertaken in response to the 2018 Farm Bill directive calling for an evaluation of SCBGP performance measures. As part of the assessment, AMS took the opportunity to revise the metrics for multiple grant programs. AMS partnered with the NASDA Foundation in working to revise the performance measures for the grant programs. AMS has also indicated plans for further revisions to other grant programs in the coming months.